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This study carried out a research on malapropism in the use of English language among secondary school students and its effect on the learning of English language with reference to selected secondary schools in Oyo West Local Government. Areas of Oyo, Oyo state. Ninety students and ten teachers are to be randomly selected in the five schools as sample. A self developed questionnaire is going to be used for data collection and simple statistic tools are to be used to analyze the data. Moreover, it was discovered that low understanding of English words, phrase, clause etc. and low vocabulary development, mother tongue interference, teaching methods, poor comprehension and reading of literary books and related pronunciations of words, are the causes of malapropism and other  form of errors in students’ usage of English in our schools.

Therefore, for effective language education and to avoid failure in English language to any pre-versity/pre-tertiary education examinations, facts found in this work are suitable for application. And to standardize English usage among learners and reporters in making Nigeria English, a Standard English or a variety, “all hands must be on deck” to applying facts of this study and others meant for research.





  • Background to the Study.

Learning of English language as an official and second Language (L2) in Nigeria has been facing a lot of problems and the attitude of learners (students) towards it is also not encouraging. The occurrence of error among students in the said language from the perspectives malapropism is the motive of the study.

Malapropism which deals with errors and mistakes, misuse of vocabularies (words) and concisely, verb and its misuse, especially in speaking and writing aspects of learning the language had got a stand status in Nigeria as a language of general communication. Students are aware that it plays a significant role in their educational pursuit, yet student area of “RULE GOVERNING THE LANGUAGE (GRAMMAR)

Malapropism has its origin from Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s character (Mrs. Malapropos) in who confuse words always. This deals with high level errors and mistakes among learners English. The lexica- semantic errors are the major focus of the research, as this phenomenon affects the effective learning of English Language.

Malapropism, according to the free encyclopedia, Is the word malapropism comes ultimately from the French ‘malapropos’ meaning in appropriate ‘via’ Mrs. malapropos” As there are two type of   errors and mistakes, Ayodele (2003) all these will be analyzed later. Though errors are therefore ‘not bad, because they are indication that leaning should not be regarded as errors from L1 to L2 i.e. “they care on inevitable feature that the learners use strevens p. (1969)

More, so Marriam Webster malapropism defined as an amusing error that occurs when a person mistakenly uses a word that sounds like another word but that has a very different meaning.

In summary, the concern of this study is to deal with how misuse of vocabularies words can leads to error as English Language is concerned and how it can affect leaning of English, analyze the error in various from and how to avoid its effects on the teaching and learning of spoken and written English.






  • Statement of the Problem

The amount and interference of “MALAPROPISM (errors and mistakes) and misuse of words in the learning of English Language has become a worrisome and problematic phenomenon in the learning of English Language among secondary school students i.e.

she ‘start ‘ looking for it

I was dancing “why’ Tobi was jumping.

Whether it is “smiling ‘bad odor or not I don’t know.

This is a Christian marriage system called ‘monotony’

She is a devil in carnal

The five statements or sentences above was adopted from write ups of five students that are of SS1 and SS2 test and conversation, considering the statement, they gives more in sight on this phenomenon where by singular verb should be used instead of plural verb ‘start’ in sentences one. The word ‘why ‘which is used for ‘while’ in sentences two.

In sentences three ‘smiling’ is used for smelling, monotony is used in sentences four instead of monogamy ; Also in sentences five where the word ‘ in carnal ‘ is used instead of word ‘incarnate’. All these one because the words are similar in pronunciation and orthography.

Therefore, problems of this nature are the concerns of this research, as students in our schools cannot speak and write a simple error free sentence

This research work is therefore tends to provide and answer to these questions.

  1. What are the factors responsible for malapropism in the use of English among learner?
  2. What are the errors and mistakes of English Language?
  3. How is malapropism affecting and changing every sentences and its intercourse
  4. How errors and mistakes are committed through malapropism?
  5. How can it be analyzed?
  6. How can it be prospected and resolute?
  7. Can they (students) still speak and write free English Sentences.

1.3.   Purpose of the Study

It is necessary to point out that, this research work is expected to be of interest to all people, including teachers in this field and language educators, who have the love for the provision of functional and lifelong education for students in general and student who love the correct usage of English Language and have good mastery of the rule governing the usage of the language (English).

Also this research does not have any intention of undertaking a purposeless research work, rather the principal objectives is to examine.

  1. Factor responsible for errors and mistakes (malapropism) in the use of English among students.
  2. The correctness of English Language usage vocabularies concord and rule misused.
  3. The way out (solution) to teach affected students and guide against the flourishing of malapropism in their use of English Language.
  4. The ways by which teacher of the language can teach the correctness of the use of the language
  5. How this work can help elevating the position of education in Nigeria, especially language education.

1.4. Research Question / Hypothesis  

The following assumptions are what this work or research tend to prove and validate

  1. Does influence of L2 has any impact on the misuse of vocabularies in L2?
  2. Does the fossilized pronunciation of L2 have influence on the written and spoken English among the student lead to error?
  3. Does the misuse or erroneous substitution of words caused by the law understanding of the language (L2)?
  4. Does mother tongue interference contribute to errors and mistakes on the spoken ability of English as L2 among students?
  5. Do erroneous substitution of L2 vocabularies intentional?

1.5. Significance of the Study.

Since the correct way of English vocabularies and rules governing the language is the center on “BONE OF CONTENTION” of this research it will be good merit to the student of secondary school in general, especially in the spoken and written skill. As well the teacher will benefit from this thesis in as much as they are the determinants of the correctness and avoidance of malapropism in the use of English among studies generally.

Moreover, the communities, state and federal ministries of education shall also gain from this work as it is drawn in line with national policy and aims of education in Nigeria

Finally, it will encourage and standardized the effective teaching learning as L2 and to put end to erroneous substation of words.

1.6. Scope of the Study.

This is expected to study its phenomenon (malapropism) across the country, but limited to one state, one local government in Oyo State and some selected secondary school within the local government area just because of its wide area, many school, time factor, information accessibility, attitudinal obstruction, human resources and financial constraint,

More so, this work is limited to speaking and writing in secondary language L2 and in it not cover more them erroneous substation of L2 vocabularies, errors and mistakes including error analysis and learning and teaching pedagogies. Through, this study may and can be generalized after proper research to the available for uses and assessment at all points or region of the country.




1.7. Definition of the Terms.

One school of thought defines language as the whole body of words and methods of combination of words had by a nation, people of race “

Lade (1992) views language as a system of using vocal sign and graphics symbol to which meaning of attached as a matter of common correction and used for ( communication among the members of that speech  community, social group or society) that owns it.

Ajayi (1990) defines language as “a purely human and non instructive methods of communicating ideas, emotion and desires by means of voluntary produced symbols”.

From the definition mentioned above, language is a chain of articulated sound. Install, language is a vehicle for expression of through. Language is a vehicle of transmission of social convention and technical convention within the frame work of cultural and linguistic possibilities.

Malapropism -: Is defined as amusing mistake that someone makes when they use a word which sounds a similar to the word they wanted to use. It can also be refer to as errors and mistakes with the misuse of word and grammatical rules.

Malapropism -: Can further defined as an absurd or humorous misuse of a word, especially by confusion with one of similar sound. It is the mistaken use of word in a place of a similar sounding one, often with intentionally amusing effect, as in “dance a flaming o” (instead of flamenco).

Effect-: A change that causes some body or something else.

Error-: Consistent production of from that would have been rendered differently by a competent speaker of the target language. Total deviation from the rules of language is known as error.

Teaching-: Imparting or passing knowledge from living to living. Act of instruction.

Learning-: This is the act of getting new skills and yielding to instruction, process of getting knowledge by learners or student from a teacher or teachers.

Mother Tongue-: This is the native language, for instance in Nigeria have Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa, Efiki, Tiv, Ikala Irobo, Ighala, Nupe, Eggun, Abasa, Ihdoma etc.

First Language-: First language implies immediate language of a Childs environment. It is the language that he/she acquires first come in contact with necessarily in the sense it may be mother tongue or foreign language.

Afolayan (1988) postulates that, first language or mother tongue is the only language of a monolingual person environment and which is meet all his linguistic needs. For instance, in English most native speaker of English know and use English Language, it is therefore, the only language that they havse in their speech, repertoire and the only means of communication available to them such people are monolingual and monoculture.

Second Language L2 -: This means foreign language (FL) that some acquires or speak apart from his/her native language.

Linda (2001) opines thus, second language (L2) is one that is not our native language but which is used freely in our communication. Second language (L2) is a variety in which in bilingual person or multi lingual person conducts his everyday activities but shares this role with another language in everyday activities in which the speaker has greater linguistic facility. It may be a language of another tribe or country rather than one’s own tribe or country.



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