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A Study of the Written English of some Egyptian Students in the University of Alexandria with Suggestions for Improvement in the Teaching of English.

Mattar, O. M. S. (1978) A Study of the Written English of some Egyptian Students in the University of Alexandria with Suggestions for Improvement in the Teaching of English. PhD thesis, Institute of Education, University of London.

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Abstract

The main purpose behind this study is to provide information that can be utilised in the improvement of the teaching of English to university students in Egypt, especially to those specialising in English in the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Education. Written data was collected from approximately 10% of the total number of entrants to all the faculties in the University of Alexandria in October 1974. Further data was collected in October 1975 and October 1976 from the same two groups of students specialising in English in the Faculties of Arts and of Education, in an attempt at a developmental study alongside the afore-mentioned cross-sectional one. The aim of the cross-sectional study is to pinpoint areas of difficulty found in the written language of the university entrant. An attempt is made at finding out if these areas are the same or different in the language of the nonspecialist and the specialist in Stage I of the developmental study. This gives an indication as to the state of the language of the university entrant in general, and whether students who are accepted for specialisation in English are better equipped to do so than the non-specialists. The developmental study will point to errors which tend to persist in the specialist's English at different stages of language acquisition. If errors persist after three years of university English, these will present difficulties for the non-specialist as well. It is hoped that the results of the developmental study will enable teachers and textbook writers to know what to expect, and thus make a better selection and gradation of teaching material at each level, as well as to adjust existing teaching methods to suit the particular nature of the problem areas. The data is analysed for grammatical and lexical deviations from Standard British English. Typical errors are isolated, classified, described and explained. A frequency count is compiled from the figures of the various errors. The basic assumption is that after investigating the causes of the problem encountered by these students, this can give an indication as to the learning problems of Egyptian foreign language learners, the learning processes they employ, and the assumptions they make as regards various English constructions. On this basis suggestions are made toward a better teaching method. The method used for the analysis is that of Error Analysis, with Contrastive Analysis used at the explanatory stage when necessary. Since these students hardly reach a stage of complete free writing at the end of their secondary school, we have limited ourselves to the level of the sentence and its parts. Only in the last stage of the developmental study a note on organisation and style was found necessary. We are here concerned with written language only and the phonological level has been excluded. As in the case of linguistic investigations in general, this study is limited by the fact that it uses a corpus and only one kind of test, that of free production. The outcome of the analysis is proportionate to the amount of information we have about the learners. It is hoped that a sufficiently large number and variety of errors are included, to provide material for a qualitative analysis.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: Thesis: PHD University of London Institute of Education, 1978.
Depositing User: Batch Import
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2014 12:51
Last Modified: 06 Aug 2015 10:24
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