The mastery of English language among lower secondary school students in Malaysia

A linguistic analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Teaching English language is a big challenge in this country. Students are still unable to acquire or even comprehend the language even after eleven years of learning the language at the primary and secondary levels. A study conducted on 315 Form Two students' shows that the most obvious weaknesses of the students lay in the area of grammar, particularly in the aspects of morphology and syntax. Some of the problematic grammatical categories are affixes, adverbs, adjectives, plural forms, copula, subject-verb agreement. This contributes 60% of the total mistakes committed by the students. It is apparent that the attributing factor is the different grammatical structures between Malay and English. For example, Malay does not have morphological markers for adverbs (i.e. -ly) plurality (i.e. -s,-es), superlative form for adjectives (i.e -er, -est) and these are some of the constraints the students face in learning the English language. Meanwhile, the different structure in syntax can be seen in relative pronouns, subject-verb agreement, copula and determiners, thus make the subject even more difficult to learn. Apart from the linguistics obstacles, the social surroundings such as attitude towards the language and the environment that do not encourage them to use the language have worsened the effort of acquiring the language.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-119
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Sciences
Volume7
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008

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Malaysia
English language
secondary school
linguistics
language
student
syntax
learning
grammar
Teaching

Keywords

  • Linguistics
  • Malay language
  • Morphology
  • Syntax

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

Cite this

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abstract = "Teaching English language is a big challenge in this country. Students are still unable to acquire or even comprehend the language even after eleven years of learning the language at the primary and secondary levels. A study conducted on 315 Form Two students' shows that the most obvious weaknesses of the students lay in the area of grammar, particularly in the aspects of morphology and syntax. Some of the problematic grammatical categories are affixes, adverbs, adjectives, plural forms, copula, subject-verb agreement. This contributes 60{\%} of the total mistakes committed by the students. It is apparent that the attributing factor is the different grammatical structures between Malay and English. For example, Malay does not have morphological markers for adverbs (i.e. -ly) plurality (i.e. -s,-es), superlative form for adjectives (i.e -er, -est) and these are some of the constraints the students face in learning the English language. Meanwhile, the different structure in syntax can be seen in relative pronouns, subject-verb agreement, copula and determiners, thus make the subject even more difficult to learn. Apart from the linguistics obstacles, the social surroundings such as attitude towards the language and the environment that do not encourage them to use the language have worsened the effort of acquiring the language.",
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