Adeleke Fakoya, Professor of Applied Linguistics at Lagos State University (LASU), has rated Nigerians as high confident speakers of English as a second language.
Fakoya, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on the sidelines of the LASU 68th Inaugural Lecture series, said Nigerians scored between 60 and 65 per cent as English language speakers.
“Generally speaking, if I were to give Nigerians a score I will just say on a general scale, Nigerians will get about 60 to 65 per cent.
“Though we make some mistakes while speaking English as a second language, we are not doing badly at all,” he said.
According to him, Nigerians as non-native speakers of English will continually struggle with certain basic features of the language.
The professor said in order to redeem some of the usage problems that Nigerians have with English, the people needed to have experts with whom to entrust the training of public officials.
Among those who should also benefit from training on proper use oof English were university lecturers, students and corporate executives, he said.
Earlier in his inaugural lecture, entitled “What does This Blabber Want to Say,” Fakoya said self-development in English language should become an obsession for everyone.
He said Nigerians needed to read novels and other materials published by native speakers of the English language as well as listen to the news in standard, native-speakers variety.
“Improve your written and spoken English. Read at least one novel a month. Ensure that the novel is written by a model user of English, possibly a native speaker of the language,” he said.
The professor also urged government at all levels to employ qualified and highly informed personnel in the training of teachers who will in turn pass on the acquired knowledge to their students.
He advised the government to unify the public system across the country so that teachers could have an elevated sense of belonging , improved self-esteem and consequently higher productivity.
Fakoya charged Nigerian journalists to become model users of the language by adopting one or two native-speaker newspapers and television stations as their models or teachers.
“Through your unions, compel your employer to send you on staff development training programmes annually,” he said.
The professor also urged lawyers and other legal practitioners to endeavour to speak and write plain English rather than communicate with jargons which made interpretation of the law difficult for the citizens.
“The position of many distinguished linguists is that plain language be encouraged to ease communication among participants at talk. In relations to law, this requirement can never be exaggerated.
“If our lawyers speak and write plain English, the law comes closer to the citizens and obedience and compliance become easier ,” he said.
Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun, Vice -Chancellor, LASU described the inaugural lecture as top notch, noting that the university was proud of the lecturer as his presentation showed that he is a scholar of distinction.
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