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The study “A Study of the Misuse of Adverbs in The Written English of the Undergraduate of the Kogi State University, Ayingba” was carried out to determine the major areas of difficulty experienced by the one hundred (100) level students of the Kogi State University. One hundred (150) samples of composition written by the one hundred (100) level students of the Kogi State University were analysed. These samples were selected from the Departments of English Language, Biochemistry and Business Administration. Four questions were raised and the simple percentage formula was used to answer the four questions. The findings show the following grammatical errors as common: omission of the –ly suffixes, wrong syntactic usage, wrong order of adverbs, misuse of preposition of place and time, wrong use of pronouns for adverbs e.t.c. The study suggests that Students should read standard books in the target language after normal classroom teaching in order to improve their writing skills. Teachers should try and use adequate and suitable learning materials. This will help students have a better understanding and good mastery of the language.
1.1 Background to the Study
The research focuses on the misuse of adverbs in the written work of the undergraduate
students of Kogi State University. Various works have been done in the area of study referred to as
Error Analysis, some of which examined the students spoken errors and inappropriate structure of
language. Attention has also been paid to wrong choice of words with particular interest in the
spoken ability. This work however, investigates the misuse of adverbs among the undergraduate
students in their written work.
Adverbials are morphologically and syntactically the most diverse grammatical structures in
English, (Freeman, 1999:491). They can perform a wide variety of purposes: show time and space
relationship, emphasize or de-emphasize information, indicate frequency or manner, or link ideas
together. They can occur initially, medially and finally in sentences and before nouns, adjectives or
verbs. Observing such a variable word class gives the researcher the opportunity to observe
variability in the language development of the one hundred (100) level students of the Kogi State
University. How they choose and place adverbs in their sentences, gives the researcher a valuable
insight into their language proficiency.
Altenburg (2010:103) states that “if you don‟t know what else a word is, then it is probably
an adverb” by implication, adverbs are one of the most difficult word classes to define as different
grammar books examined have slightly different definitions and focuses for adverb. Larsen-
freeman (1999), Biber (1999), Azar (2002).Freeman (1999:491). For the purpose of this study,
adverbs are words or phrases that modify adjectives, verbs, other adverbs, or whole clauses. They
show relationship such as time, place, manner or certainty. However, the scope of this study is
somewhat pre-limited to the conservative form that is, single word adverbs that can occur only as
adverbs for the purpose of expediency. For example, adverbial clauses, multi-word adverbs and
any adverb that could also function as another part of speech are excluded.
In determining if these students under investigation make errors in choosing and placing
adverbs, it is necessary to look at error analysis as this would help in indicating what the students
get right, what they underuse and what they overuse. Learners accuracy should not only be
measured by their grammatical accuracy but also by the way their lexical choices align with those
of the native speakers. It is unrealistic to reckon on language learning without errors. However, it
shows that errors do occur in the second language learning and for this reason, it should be
acknowledged and dealt with.
The interest in error analysis has been awakened by the need to correct deviant, ill formed
sentences, in the sense that they are not fully describable in terms of the grammar of the mother
tongue or target language. Since languages are dynamic and productive, inferences drawn from
linguistic researches would remain ineffective if new vistas are not opened in the areas of Applied
Linguistics. Furthermore, the poor performance of students taking English Language examinations
has continued to impact negatively on the nation‟s educational objectives. This is predicated on the
fact that the English Language occupies a central position in Nigeria, Banjo (1981), Bamgbose
(1982), Odumuh (1985).
Error analysis means deviation from the expected models that should be aimed at or against
which constructions can be viewed. The written and spoken English of second learners (L2) of
English Language are full of grammatical errors of different types. The misuse of adverbs as
modifiers in speech or writing is not an exception; second language learners from different
linguistic backgrounds make similar errors in learning the target language. The possible general
sources of errors include: language transfer, transfer of learning, strategies of second language
learning, strategies of second language communication and over generalization.
It is unrealistic to reckon on language learning without errors. However, it shows that errors
do occur in the second language learning and for this reason, it should be acknowledged and dealt
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