This section is aimed at giving a general introduction regarding the study. It discusses the background to the study and statement of the research problem. It also goes further in explaining the objectives of the Study, significance of the Study, as well as its Scope and Delimitations.
1.1 Background of the Study
There is no gain saying the fact that English has become an African Language. The language has become an invaluable legacy of the British which has provided African with yet another means of expressing their culture. Thus, English became the language of administration, law and legislative functions especially in Nigeria (Ker, 2002). In English language studies, literature is also featured as an important aspect for example; figures of speech in literature are also taught in English language. This goes to show that the English language is not devoid of literature.
Today in Nigeria, the English language has become so central in every sphere of life, that most people equate literacy and indeed education with the
ability to read and write in English language (Otagburuagu, 2002). Faloye and Babatunde, (1991) similarly contained that:
….Since the advent of formal education, instructions in all subject areas have been in English students are taught and tested in English. They are made to read in English and even think in English.
Emphatically speaking, literature in English is an integral part of the English language. It cannot be separated because of the intricate nature of the two fields of the study. In English language studies, literature-in-English is necessary because it reflects the custom, the tradition and norms of the society.
A lot of researches have been done on the genres of literature like prose, drama and poetry. Sequel to this fact, many students of English language abhor going into poetry study.
This work is interested in finding out why students are scared of poetry.
Could it be that students shy away from studying poetry due to their inefficiency in the use of English language? This could be a contributory factor for students to study poetry effectively. Such a student needs to have a good command of English language.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Literature has constituted a dreadful phenomenon to some students of English language. They are either scared of the complex nature of the diction and styles or the task of reading through so many pages of a literature text. This observation must be largely responsible for the loss of interest in most general aspects of literature.
This is a very serious problem, because the reality in the field has led to a drastic fall in the standard of education in the country. Worse still, is the fact that most students of English language are scared of some aspects of literature like poetry and in somewhat the genres of literature. From the foregoing, the major problem of this research is finding out whether a student of English language needs the knowledge of literature or not?
1.3 Research Questions
The following research questions are found very necessary to direct the researcher towards the land of data to be collected which will be relevant to the topic:
1. Does the knowledge of literature-in-English affect the performance of students of English language in Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto?
2. Does the attitude of students towards literature affect their performance in English language?
3. How does decline in reading culture affect students of English language in Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto?
4. What are the reasons why students of English language avoid literature-in-English courses in Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto?
5. Can one fathom the background of English language students on their performance in literature-in-English?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The nexus of this study is to survey the English language needs of literature-in-English in Usmanu University, Sokoto. Therefore, the objectives include the following:
1. To find out whether or not the literature aspect of English has an effect on the student’s performance in English language.
2. To know the reasons why students of English language abscond from literature-in-English courses.
3. To find out whether the decline reading culture in the country is responsible for lack of interest in literature-in-English.
4. To find out the magnitude of literature-in-English for English language use in their study.
5. To find out whether or not the literature-in-English background of students of English language affects their performance
1.5 Scope and Delimitation
Literature is made up of three basic genres: Prose, Drama and Poetry. This study: The English language needs of literature-in-English with emphasis on poetry, however, it has been delimited to only the English language students of the Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto.
1.6 Significance of the Study
Since many students of English language in higher institutions generally lack interest in literature-in-English, it becomes imperative for the researcher to survey factors responsible for the negative attitude towards the subject. The result of the study could be significant for the following reasons:
1. The students of English language could realize the importance of literature-in-English.
2. The study could motivate further researches on the literature-in-English language students.
3. The attitude towards literature-in-English could improve the knowledge of it.