Teach English in NiulanshAn Diqu - Beijing

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Problems for French Cameroonians in learning EnglishIn this paper, I will examine some of the challenges that French speaking Cameroonians are faced with when learning English. Cameroon was administered in the colonial days by both the British and the French. Francophone Cameroonians make up for about 70% of the country. The advent of globalization engendered the need for students, workers, in fact all Cameroonians to learn English. This has accounted for the government of Cameroon making the two official languages compulsory subjects in secondary schools and has contributed to the sprouting of language schools all over the country. Despite the enthusiasm of French speaking Cameroonians to study English, they face a number of challenges. One problem that francophone Cameroonians face is that English language is different in many ways from French and the maternal languages of Cameroonians. As great as it might be that francophone Cameroonians are surrounded by many dialects, this makes it difficult for them to adjust to a new language. Not that the language itself is difficult, but the people are less willing to learn an additional one. Phonology is also big challenge. There are quite a good number of differences in the sound systems of the two languages that cause learners problems in understanding and speech production. Spelling errors may result from the frequent lack of correspondence between the pronunciation of English words and their spelling. For example, a student who focuses merely on the sound might write ?hao? instead of ?how?. A typical pronunciation problem is the inability to correctly articulate the vowel sounds in minimal pairs such as ship / sheep, live / leave, full / fool. Because the tip of the tongue is not used in speaking French, learners often have problems with words containing the letters th, such as then, thick, thief, think, thine and clothes. The francophone students have a tendency to turn the ?th? sound into a ?d? sound. Another common feature of English spoken by Cameroonian French learners is the omission of the /h/ sound at the beginning of words. This sound does not exist in French and leads to problems such as 'Ave you 'eard about 'arry? Once taught about the /h/ sound, learners might also overcompensate by pronouncing the /h/ in words like hour, honour. The auxiliary do does not exist in French, so learners encounter problems using it in asking questions. Most of the time they will simply make a statement and use question intonation: She has children? Or they may simply invert subject and verb: How often meet you them? The wrong choice of tense is another problem. Even though there are likenesses of verb grammar, there are numerous occasions when French speaking Cameroonians would use a different tense to express a particular meaning. This results from a literal translation of the tenses from French to English. Some common examples are the following faulty sentences: 1) I have cooked Sushi yesterday. 2) I can't come now. I do my assignment. 3) I live in Douala since last year. A challenge that can be easily overlooked but should not is the spread of ?Pidgin? among the francophone community. Pidgin is simply broken English. It is the ?English? spoken in the markets, on the streets or among students. It is therefore the ?English? that most francophone Cameroonians are exposed to. French speaking Cameroonians usually learn pidgin before they can formulate a proper sentence in English. They learn pidgin faster since it?s the English of the streets. This clearly doesn?t facilitate the study of proper English in the classroom. Not only might students have a hard time differentiating between the two, but they might also not see the point in learning proper English. Despite the multitude of problems that they encounter as they learn English, this does not prevent francophone Cameroonians from mastering the language. The different social and linguistic factors above need to be taken into consideration to increase effectiveness.