1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
English is much more than the language of both the English man and the British people. It is the most recognized national language (Bock, 2007). It is used as a first, second or a foreign language. In fact, English is one of the most recognized world languages. It is regarded as a key which opens doors to scientific and technical knowledge and it is indispensible to economic and political development of vast areas of the world. Nigeria as a nation has adopted the English Language as its Lingua Franca (L2). According to Hunjo (2002), English Language apart from its status as Nigeria’s Lingua Franca, it is the language of official communication, educational and political administration.
One major area where the importance of English Language cannot be overlooked is its provision of access to education through reading and writing. It is the medium of instruction through which learners acquire knowledge and skills. To the average Nigerian, therefore, proficiency in English Language skills especially in essay writing in today’s diverse society is the key to world’s proof of knowledge and universal culture. It is a gateway to success in the global economy. In an increasingly demanding world of literacy, the importance of ensuring students’ proficiency in essay writing skills cannot be overemphasized. The ability to write essay well, hitherto a luxury is now a dire necessity (Gallagher 2006). Essay writing is vital to students’ developing literacy skills. According to Gallagher (2006), a school that teaches its students the curriculum in English Language without concurrently teaching them how to write essays well is a school that has failed.
The identification, correction, and remediation of formal error in student essay writing is a mainstay of conventional education system. Errors in a essay write ups do influence perceptions of the quality of ideas in a paper (Graham, Herbert, & Harris, 2011; Kiuhara, Graham, & Hawken, 2009) and potentially impede meaning. Common errors made by students in essay writing includes punctuation error, capitalization error, grammatical error etc. this study will be fully focusing on the examination of capitalization error in some selected students essay writing. Occasionally, viewing the content of student essay writing, capitalization seems to be used randomly. Most student’s capitalization errors involve names, titles or acronyms or initial-letter abbreviations.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
In the process of writing an essay, students are bound to make error. Students might make mistakes because they have not mastered the rules involved properly. Capitalization error which is being focused upon in this study could be a product of unawareness of a capitalization rule; hence, researchers like Brown (2002) and Aronoff & Fudeman (2006) affirmed that making errors are unavoidable problems in essay writing. This is the crux of the study.
In Nigeria, results released by West African Examination Council (WAEC), every year reveal that students’ performance in English Language is very poor. Scholars have tried to find out the reason for this mass failure (Babatunde, 2002). However, not much has been done in the area of errors in written essays which carries bulk of the mark. Therefore, this study seeks to find out the capitalization errors in essay writing of some selected students in Egor Local Government Area of Edo State.
1.3 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
The main aim of this study is to examine capitalization error in some selected students essay writing while the following are the specific objectives:
1. To analyze the level of capitalization error in some selected students essay writing.
2. To analyze capitalization error relating to name or title of a person in the selected students essay writing.
3. To analyze capitalization error relating to abbreviations and beginning of a paragraph in the selected students essay writing.
4. To analyze random capitalization error and capitalization of common noun in the selected student’s essay writing.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
The following are the significance of this study:
1. The results of the analysis of this study will reveal the level of capitalization error in student essay writing in Nigeria generally. It will form a guide for English Language teachers on how and what to concentrate on to improve the skills of students in writing essays.
2. This research will be a contribution to the body of literature in the area of the capitalization error in students essay writing, thereby constituting the empirical literature for future research in the subject area
1.5 SCOPE OF STUDY
This study is limited to secondary schools in Egor Local government area of Edo State. This study will also cover the capitalization errors made by these students in their essay writing.
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