English

Department of English

English & Modern Languages

In a country where English is a added language, a major official language, a lingua franca, and the language of instruction in the educational system, a high level of proficiency in it is usually expected from the graduates of higher institutions, especially the universities. A higher level of competence and communicative skills is expected even more from graduates of English. This informs the need for devoting greater attention to the achievement of improved knowledge of English and the acquisition of adequate oral and written skills in it. English graduates from Nigerian universities should be clearly and positively identified with adequate proficiency in pronunciation, articulate in speech, correctness of grammar and usage, elegance and style in diction in the choice of an appropriate variety of English for use in the various administrative and professional job opportunities available in the labour market, in literary and creative writing domains, and in postgraduate studies in language and literature.  

This programme is designed:

(i) To train students to acquire adequate communicative competence in both the spoken and written varieties of the English language, thereby giving them a good grounding and effective mastery of the language in its various applications to achieve adequate self-expression and self-actualization.

(ii) To equip the students with the knowledge of the forms and features of the varieties of English used in different professional domains such as business communication, legal communication, electronic broadcast media, print journalism, advertising and sports commentaries, book publishing, and biography writing.

(iii) To equip the students with linguistic knowledge of the English language through a detailed study of its sound system, its lexicon, its syntax, semantics and usage.

(iv) To adequately prepare the students to pursue graduate studies in English language, linguistics, and to take up teaching and research at the appropriate level of education.

(v) To orient students towards self-employment by a focus on skills such as writing (e.g. of articles in magazines, speeches; designing and presenting special programmes on radio or TV, designing and publishing magazines etc.), creative writing, and other kinds of original output through independent thought, and creativity.

(vi) To enable students to overcome deficiencies in their English.  

Admission and Graduation Requirements

General Universities requirements, plus

(i) 5 credits level passes in the SSCE/NECO/GCE (O/L) examinations in relevant subjects including English language and Literature in English for the 4 – year (8 Semesters) programme.

(ii) A minimum of 2 GCE (Advance Level) passes one of which must be literature in English for the 3 – year (6 – Semesters) programme.  

Duration and Unit Values of the Courses

The full degree programme is to last four years. Candidates need a minimum of 120 credit units to qualify for award of a degree. The courses may be rearranged semester wise within the same level/year provide the integrity of the whole programme is maintained.  

Learning Outcome

a.) Regime of Subject Knowledge

The scope and depth of knowledge required in the study of English & Modern Languages as an academic subject should cover the following areas:  

i) Language skills: - These are the basic skills of reading, comprehension, and writing. The main knowledge areas here should include the following topics:

    • Oral communication – public speaking;
    • Elements of effective usage – lexical and structural;
    • Listening – cues for comprehension; 
    • Elements of effective comprehension;
    • Reading – types of reading.

ii) Linguistic knowledge of English:

    • Its phonology i.e. inventory of vowel and consonant sounds and how to describe them, stress and intonation features;
    • Its lexical and morphological features i.e. word types and the structure of words and word formation processes;
    • Its syntax, i.e. the grammer or sentence types, forms and structures;
    • Its semantics, i.e. knowledge of the different types of meaning and meaning relations.

iii) Sociolinguistic knowledge, i.e. pragmatics, stylistics, discourse analysis, variation in English (accent, regional, social and style variation), the new English (i.e. varieties of English as a second foreign language).

iv) Knowledge of Applied English Linguistics:

    • Theories and methods of learning English as a second language;
    • Theories and methods of teaching English as a second language.

v) Knowledge of the element of English usage in various professional domains such as the following:

    • English of Business Communication
    • English for Academic Purposes
    • English for Science and Technology
    • English of Legal Communication
    • English of Print Journalism
    • English of Broadcasting
    • English of Sports Commentary

b.) It should be emphasized that it is not enough for students of English language to know that all the components of knowledge itemized in section 2.5.3 (i) above exist in English. It is important for them to acquire demonstrable competence and skills in those aspects that are taught in the programme.  

The following are a few examples:

    • Demonstrable competence and skill in the recognition and use of stress in the pronunciation of words in English involve knowledge of the rules of stress placement in particular groupds of words and the ability to pronounce those words correctly in their different contexts of occurrence, e.g. All derived words which in-tion or -sion are stressed on the penultimate syllable (a’ddition, vari’ation, ro’tation, eaxami’nation, di’vision).
    • Demonstrate competence and skill in the English of business communication involve knowledge of elements and features of the English of letter writing, report writing, news reports, as well as the ability to produce well- written business letters, different types of reports, or well structured news reports.

c. Behavioural Attributes

The scope and depth of knowledge required in the study of English Language as an academic subject should cover the following areas:  

i) Language skills knowledge: - These are the basic skills of reading and comprehension, and writing. The main knowledge areas here should include the following topics:

    • Oral communication – public speaking;
    • Elements of effective usage – lexical and structural;
    • Listening – cues for comprehension;  Elements of effective comprehension;
    • Reading – types of reading.

ii) Linguistic knowledge of English:

    • Its phonology i.e. inventory of vowel and consonant sounds and how to describe them, stress and intonation features;
    • Its lexical and morphological features i.e. word types and the structure of words and word formation processes;
    • Its syntax, i.e. the grammer or sentence types, forms and structures;
    • Its semantics, i.e. knowledge of the different types of meaning and meaning relations.

iii) Sociolinguistic knowledge, i.e. pragmatics, stylistics, discourse analysis, variation in English (accent, regional, social and style variation), the new English (i.e. varieties of English as a second foreign language).

iv) Knowledge of Applied English Linguistics:

    • Theories and methods of learning English as a second language;
    • Theories and methods of teaching English as a second language.

v) Knowledge of the elements of English usage in various professional domains such as the following:

    • English of Business Communication
    • English for Academic Purposes
    • English for Science and Technology
    • English of Legal Communication
    • English of Print Journalism
    • English of Broadcasting
    • English of Sports Commentary

The qualities of precision, conciseness, politeness, elegance and style are some of the major behavioural attributes associated with a good grounding in the study of the English language. Students of English should be able to demonstrate these qualities in their oral and written communication in English in all domains.  

Other behavioural attributes should derive from knowledge of the general functions of language and their application in our daily acts communicative interactions. Some of these functions impose considerable demands on the competence of both the speaker and hearer.

  • The informative function of language involves the passing of information from one individual to another, from government to the governed, and from one organization to another. Good language lies at the root of effective communication of information at all levels;
  • The use of language to establish rapport, social contact, and to extend politeness to one’s interlocutor is a behavioural function;
  • The expressive function of language involves the use of language to express ones internal feelings and emotions and so the choice of words and expressions do sometimes have emotive connotations;
  • The recognition of the tone of language is very important because tone of language relates to how the listener or reader perceives the effect of the speaker’s or writer’s choice of words and the tone of delivery (e.g. friendly, aloof, considerate, critical, condescending, rude, polite, etc.) 

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