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This work highlights the nature of the English irregular verbs by identifying what makes them irregular in nature, how this affects or causes problems to second language learners in Nigeria and proffering solutions on how to alleviate the problems. Both library and field researches are used to get the facts needed for the analysis. Descriptive design requiring respondents to supply answers to objective and subjective tests is used. A total of two hundred undergraduates from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka and Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe serve as respondents. The students are randomly selected from the institutions mentioned above. Six research questions guided the research which aimed at discovering the extent to which the English irregular verbs cause problems to second language learners. Fifty questions were administered to the respondents to test the research questions. In analyzing the result the researcher observed that majority of the undergraduate students do not have the required knowledge of the use of English irregular verbs. Based on the findings, some recommendations which aimed at improving the learning of English in an ESL situation were made.

Chapter One


1.0 Preamble

Language is a complex and a dynamic human possession. Its role as a veritable instrument of social cohesion has been recognized through ages and in all cultures. The possession of this concrete medium of communication among human beings distinguishes man from other animals. Many languages exist in the world. These languages are either spoken or written or both. Language is a treasure, a mark of identity, a human trait manifesting strengths and weaknesses of thought. It is therefore a social phenomenon capable of bringing people from different locale together. This unifying force is exemplified by the English Language in Nigeria.

It was introduced in Nigeria by the early Europeans for business transactions and subsequent colonization. Through the agency of the church, some Nigerians learned the language, which qualified them for positions as clerks, interpreters and messengers to the whites. They constituted what one may call the first elite class whose existence spurred other people to compete for learning and speaking the English Language.


The acceptance of the English Language in Nigeria as a medium of instruction makes it a second language and its importance in the Nigerian situation is overwhelming, and according to Baldeh, (1) "it is the most important legacy of the British colonial masters in Nigeria", as our political, social, economic and cultural engagements are suffused with English.

1.1 Background to the Study

English is a second language in Nigeria. A second language is a language which is not indigenous to a country but is used in official settings. Scholars aver that learning English or any other language as a second or foreign language implies several difficulties. Not only would the L2 learner master the sounds of the target language (the phonemes) and understand the arrangement of words to make meaningful utterances (syntax), he should also strive to master the vocabulary of the target language and its orthography (the way words are written). Although some languages most nearly are written in the same way as they are pronounced, English has minimal written and spoken relationship.

Learners of English in Nigeria encounter two major problems: the problem of language interference where L1 of the

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