PhD Candidate Fatima Muhammad Shitu

Committee: International Scientific Committee of Cognitive and Language Sciences
University: Federal College of Education, Kano
Department: Department of English
Research Fields: collocations, errors, second language learning, ESL students,

Publications

1 Collocation Errors in English as Second Language (ESL) Essay Writing

Authors: Fatima Muhammad Shitu

Abstract:

In language learning, second language learners as well as Native speakers commit errors in their attempt to achieve competence in the target language. The realm of collocation has to do with meaning relation between lexical items. In all human language, there is a kind of ‘natural order’ in which words are arranged or relate to one another in sentences so much so that when a word occurs in a given context, the related or naturally co-occurring word will automatically come to the mind. It becomes an error, therefore, if students inappropriately pair or arrange such ‘naturally’ co–occurring lexical items in a text. It has been observed that most of the second language learners in this research group commit collocation errors. A study of this kind is very significant as it gives insight into the kinds of errors committed by learners. This will help the language teacher to be able to identify the sources and causes of such errors as well as correct them thereby guiding, helping and leading the learners towards achieving some level of competence in the language. The aim of the study is to understand the nature of these errors as stumbling blocks to effective essay writing. The objective of the study is to identify the errors, analyze their structural compositions so as to determine whether there are similarities between students in this regard and to find out whether there are patterns to these kinds of errors which will enable the researcher to understand their sources and causes. As a descriptive research, the researcher samples some nine hundred essays collected from three hundred undergraduate learners of English as a second language in the Federal College of Education, Kano, North- West Nigeria, i.e. three essays per each student. The essays which were given on three different lecture times were of similar thematic preoccupations (i.e. same topics) and length (i.e. same number of words). The essays were written during the lecture hour at three different lecture occasions. The errors were identified in a systematic manner whereby errors so identified were recorded only once even if they occur severally in students’ essays. The data was collated using percentages in which the identified numbers of occurrences were converted accordingly in percentages. The findings from the study indicate that there are similarities as well as regular and repeated errors which provided a pattern. Based on the pattern identified, the conclusion is that students’ collocation errors are attributable to poor teaching and learning which resulted in wrong generalization of rules.

Keywords: Errors, collocations, collocation errors, second language learning

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Abstracts

3 Effect of the Keyword Strategy on Lexical Semantic Acquisition: Recognition, Retention and Comprehension in an English as Second Language Context

Authors: Fatima Muhammad Shitu

Abstract:

This study seeks to investigate the effect of the keyword strategy on lexico–semantic acquisition, recognition, retention and comprehension in an ESL context. The aim of the study is to determine whether the keyword strategy can be used to enhance acquisition. As a quasi- experimental research, the objectives of the study include: To determine the extent to which the scores obtained by the subjects, who were trained on the use of the keyword strategy for acquisition, differ at the pre-tests and the post–tests and also to find out the relationship in the scores obtained at these tests levels. The sample for the study consists of 300 hundred undergraduate ESL Students in the Federal College of Education, Kano. The seventy-five lexical items for acquisition belong to the lexical field category known as register, and they include Medical, Agriculture and Photography registers (MAP). These were divided in the ratio twenty-five (25) lexical items in each lexical field. The testing technique was used to collect the data while the descriptive and inferential statistics were employed for data analysis. For the purpose of testing, the two kinds of tests administered at each test level include the WARRT (Word Acquisition, Recognition, and Retention Test) and the CCPT (Cloze Comprehension Passage Test). The results of the study revealed that there are significant differences in the scores obtained between the pre-tests, and the post–tests and there are no correlations in the scores obtained as well. This implies that the keyword strategy has effectively enhanced the acquisition of the lexical items studied.

Keywords: Semantics, Strategy, Lexical, keyword

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2 Sentence Variation in Academic Writing: A Contrastive Study of the Variation of Sentence Types between Male and Female ESL Writers

Authors: Fatima Muhammad Shitu

Abstract:

This paper focuses on the variation of sentence types in English academic writing. The major focus is on whether variation in sentence types can be attributable to the linguistic and most of all the gender of the writers. The objective of this paper is to analyze the sentence types produced by Male and Female ESL writers and to determine whether writers vary the frequency and use of sentence types across the text depending on the rhetorical choices of the writers to construct identity. This study is hinged on the functionalist approach to analyzing academic writing in use. For the purpose of this study, a corpus of 20 academic papers was created and the use of sentences types was analyzed. The data for the study was collated using percentages. In this case, the number of occurrences of the different sentence types were analyzed, calculated and then converted to percentages for each group i.e., male and female ESL writers. The results from these analyses were compared and contrasted in order to determine whether Male and Female ESL writer vary their sentence types, and, or employed the same or different sentence types in their texts. The conclusion is that Male and Female ESL writers not only vary in their use of sentence types in academic writings but also differ.

Keywords: Gender, ESL, academic writing, sentence variation

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1 Collocation Errors in English as Second Language (ESL) Essay Writing

Authors: Fatima Muhammad Shitu

Abstract:

In language learning, Second language learners like their native speaker counter parts, commit errors in their attempt to achieve competence in the target language. The realm of Collocation has to do with meaning relation between lexical items. In all human language, there is a kind of ‘natural order’ in which words are arranged or relate to one another in sentences so much so that when a word occurs in a given context, the related or naturally co -occurring word will automatically come to the mind. It becomes an error, therefore, if students inappropriately pair or arrange such ‘naturally’ co – occurring lexical items in a text. It has been observed that most of the second language learners in this research group commit collocational errors. A study of this kind is very significant as it gives insight into the kinds of errors committed by learners. This will help the language teacher to be able to identify the sources and causes of such errors as well as correct them thereby guiding, helping and leading the learners towards achieving some level of competence in the language. The aim of the study is to understand the nature of these errors as stumbling blocks to effective essay writing. The objective of the study is to identify the errors, analyse their structural compositions so as to determine whether there are similarities between students in this regard and to find out whether there are patterns to these kinds of errors which will enable the researcher to understand their sources and causes. As a descriptive research, the researcher samples some nine hundred essays collected from three hundred undergraduate learners of English as a second language in the Federal College of Education, Kano, North- West Nigeria, i.e. three essays per each student. The essays which were given on three different lecture times were of similar thematic preoccupations (i.e. same topics) and length (i.e. same number of words). The essays were written during the lecture hour at three different lecture occasions. The errors were identified in a systematic manner whereby errors so identified were recorded only once even if they occur severally in students’ essays. The data was collated using percentages in which the identified number of occurrences were converted accordingly in percentages. The findings from the study indicates that there are similarities as well as regular and repeated errors which provided a pattern. Based on the pattern identified, the conclusion is that students’ collocational errors are attributable to poor teaching and learning which resulted in wrong generalisation of rules.

Keywords: Second Language Learning, Errors, ESL students, collocations

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