Mother tongue instruction as a facilitator of lexical competence in learning English Language in Mbarara Primary Schools: Runyankore as a case study
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The focus of this research is in the area of language learning. The study set out to investigate whether Runyankore Language L1 as a language of instruction facilitates acquisition of lexical competence in English Language L2, with reference to: (a) writing words correctly, (b) reading words correctly, (c) pronouncing words correctly, (d) listening to words correctly. The second objective of the study was to establish whether English Language L2 as a language of instruction is of any advantage in acquisition of lexical competence in English, with reference to: (a) writing words correctly, (b) reading words correctly, (c) pronouncing words correctly, (d) listening to words correctly. Such a study is important to minimize lexical errors which tend to hinder communication. The research approach adopted in this dissertation includes a cross-sectional survey research design that involved, use of tests, questionnaires and use of interviews of two hundred and fifty pupils of primary three, and their thirty one teachers in twenty five primary schools, in Mbarara district, in South western Uganda. The study was heavily quantitative and a t-test was used to analyse results because two groups of learners were involved. The first group was taught in Runyankore language and learnt English as a subject, and the second group was taught in English and English as a subject. The findings from this research provide evidence that Runyankore Language L1 as a language of instruction does not play a significant role in facilitating pupil’s lexical competence in English with reference to writing, reading, expression and listening skills, while English Language L2 is being taught as a subject. The main conclusion drawn from the study is: Runyankore Language L1 as LOI does not facilitate learners’ acquisition of lexical competence in English Language L2, but English Language L2 as a LOI does. This dissertation recommends that viz.: pupils who are instructed in Runyankore LI be exposed to English Language L2, and their teachers be equipped with skills to use LI as a learning aid in acquisition of L2, and the pupils who are instructed in L2 be encouraged to use English Language L2, during English Language L2 lessons.