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Faculty of Languages-Department of English Language

"Investigating Awareness towards Barriers That Hinder Sudanese Students' Competence in EFL"

A proposal Submitted to the Requirements for the Degree of PhD in Applied Linguistics

"The reason one writes is not the fact he wants to say something. He writes because he has something to say"

Prepared by:

Amir Mohammed Albloly

1. Overview
Language acquisition or language learning in the dynamic of linguistics and languages is considered to be the medium where by humankind express their thoughts, emotions, attitudes and interact with one another in their everyday life. But certain conditions must be achieved in order for such a dynamic be fulfilled and linguistically accepted to guarantee the reasonable practices of the speech community in which the language used; represents the spine that systematizes the social, intellectual, cognitive an political orientation of that community. Everybody admit the fact that English nowadays is approximately dominant all the fields of knowledge due to its position as a global language and that the majority of the world population lie in the galaxy of global English. Yet, the involvement in the so-called global English is not a matter of social prestige; it is rather, a comprehensive knowledge of the aspects of that language components ones are using; as this knowledge plays the role as a marker for people position in and out that galaxy of global English. Due to the worldwide dominance of English; those who run for establishing a perfect position in English universality, experience inevitable challenges in coping with English use as a foreign language in terms of their competence in such a language; as competence is the criteria by which the learning of second language is measured. Since the knowledge of language entailing and constituting the knowledge of the targeted language component such as the semantic component, the syntactical component, the pragmatics component , etc. beside,

developing competence that is of a native speaker which is achieved through assimilating the fifth language skills and the variant types of competence such as: sociolinguistic competence, communicative

competence, grammatical competence, textual competence to mention only a few. The development of competence is of importance in viewing to great extent learners' proficiency in foreign language use and their approach towards the ultimate goal to the complete mastery of English as a foreign language that everybody in the English language and linguistics field seek for. Teachers of English are in need of equipments that raise and increase their awareness through guides, methods and procedures for promoting their students' competence and proficiency in EFL which in its turn contribute in posing competent generation capable of almost solving most of the problematic issues of foreign language learning and teaching. Therefore, the researcher aimed at looking deeply into such an issue wishing the contribution as the previous studies that tackled this area to uproot the barriers and the hindrance as to Sudanese English language students in foreign language learning in the hope that paving the gateway for them towards the pioneer among all nations.

2. Statement of the Problem

The study is stemmed from an observation throughout fifth years of teaching different subjects at University of Kassala in which the researcher has observed that most of the English language students undergo several hindrances when they come write and discuss their graduation thesis where lots of language and linguistic problems raise in terms of writing, speaking, reading and listening. In addition to frequent observations made by part-timer native speakers on the weakness of

students standards in EFL. It is worth mentioning here that, within the researcher experience in teaching at the university and accomplishing MA in English language teaching that, the majority of students either under or post graduates face the same barriers in the use of language and share the same weakness and inability to: Use the language reasonably in presenting seminar, understand and respond to different utterances or speech acts, correct errors and mistakes, introduce themselves freely.. The researcher have no the magical power to solve such problems; however from experience teaching English at the university and institutes, as well as doing MA in English language teaching; the researcher could observe and infer from the environment of teaching English that a number of nearly ignored or not investigated thoroughly factors are behind of such barriers. Consequently, the current wide belief that learning English can bring economic, educational, and sociocultural benefits is the incentive for the researcher to exert utmost efforts in favor of linguists, learners and teachers putting the solutions to such a critical issue in the EFL field at everybody's disposal.

3. Objectives of the Study

The main objectives of the study in question are to investigate and raise awareness towards the hindrance of competence in EFL in the hope that achieves the following: 1. Help Sudanese teachers and students promote their performance more than ever before in the context of English as a foreign language. 2. Afford the required facilities where by teachers and students develop native like competence in EFL. 3. Find out the barriers and causes that hinder Sudanese learners pose a reliable and solid competence in English as a foreign language.

4. Investigate teachers and students' attitudes and aptitudes towards the teaching and learning of EFL. 5. Survey the variables behind the role and the effect of both the native language and the foreign language in language learning and teaching. 6. Raise awareness of the social, cultural, and the discourse conventions that are disregarded within the English current curriculum taught in High Education system. 7. Yield viewpoints and thoughts on the experience of online teaching effect in teaching and learning of EFL. 8. Establish a practical empirical framework that teachers and students use as a criterion for competence development in EFL.

4. Significance of the Study

The significance of this study is stemmed from the fact that Sudanese second language learners are still faced by lots of difficulties and hard ways in the course of learning English as a foreign language. This study is going to investigate the causes beyond these hindrances; trying as much as possible makes teachers orient themselves from one hand towards approaches, principles and materials that effectively have the profound impact in the promotion of competence; and learners from the other hand, making the maximum use of the expertise, the guides, the pedagogical and cognitive instructions that assist them address themselves to the barriers of their competence development in realm of EFL. Moreover, the study tries to uncover the veil of the completely ignored issues that might nearly behind such problems and challenges. As to the aforementioned, the study also attempts to foster linguists, language experts, teachers and syllabus designers in field of language learning and

teaching develop other than those being posed or used; further suggestions, views and materials that necessary for the treatment of the hindrances of competence in EFL. The last but not the least, the study hopefully contribute valuable results that in its turn help Sudanese second language learners acquire the identical competence so as to be in line with the English language users in the galaxy of global English.

5. Questions of the Study

To achieve the above mentioned goals, the study is going to look for answers as to the following questions: 1. Why the learning of English as a foreign language is problematic for Sudanese learners? 2. What causes behind hindering Sudanese learners acquire an identical competence? 3. How is the status of English as a foreign language in Sudan, affects learners' development of competence? 4. On what way, the incomplete mastery of learners' mother tongue hinders the success in the target language? 5. Why the approaches, methods and techniques applied in English language teaching, failed contributing in the promotion of EFL competence? 6. How Arabictization affects Sudanese learners' motivation in the learning of EFL? 7. On what way, politics and language policy have had impacts in undermining the general standard of teachers and learners in English as a foreign language.

8. How the sociolinguistic variability of the Sudanese society contributes to the relegation of competence in EFL?

6. Hypotheses of the Study

1. Learning of English as a second language is problematic for Sudanese learners. 2. The students' inherited sense of resistance to both the English subject and to the English teacher at early stages of learning might be as one of the causes. 3. The status of English as a foreign language in Sudan, affect the development of competence. 4. The approaches, methods, techniques and materials applied in English language teaching, failed contribute in the inadequacy in promoting learners' competence in EFL. 5. The incomplete mastery of the learners' native language represents an obstacle to master the target one (EFL). 6. Arabicization paralyzed Sudanese learners' motivation in learning of EFL? 7. The current English curriculum taught in High Education system, lack of the social, cultural and the discourse conventions that are necessary for classroom input. 8. Language planning and language policy have had impact in undermining the general standard of teachers and learners in English as a foreign language.

9. The sociolinguistic variability of the Sudanese society contributes to the relegation of competence in EFL.

7. Methodology of the Study

The first part of the study is based on yielding responses from doctorate teachers at different Sudanese Universities and colleges in addition to different Sudanese schools and institutes teachers using the questionnaire as the basic tool for gathering the required data. The second part of this study is based on questionnaire delivered to the selected subject and observation with different Sudanese University students as English foreign language learners. The researcher will adopt the analytical and descriptive methods to conduct the study. The tool will be used for data collection are three questionnaires; the first is delivered to (50) English doctorate teachers at Sudanese Universities who are selected purposively due to their long experience and their perfect knowledge in the field of language and linguistics; the second one is delivered to a random sample of (50) English teachers in different Sudanese schools and institutes as they gained reasonable experience in language teaching; and the third one is delivered to (50) students at the university level selected as a random sample as they are the intended population whose competence is under construction. AS to the observation is to be used with a purposive sample of an English class at the university level composed of (50) to determine the extent of competence those students have and pinpoint the hindrances of competence they encounter in EFL.

8. Scope of the Study

The study will be confined to (50) English Sudanese colleges and university teachers and students in addition to (50) English language teachers in different Sudanese schools and institutes. The results of this study are limited to the following: The random sample which composed of (50) Sudanese English language teachers during the years 2013-2014. It is also limited to the (50) English Sudanese university doctorate teachers, and to instruments used in the study which are two questionnaires as doctorate teachers and school teachers; interview and observation as to the university students; prepared by the researcher for this purpose. Therefore, generalizations of the findings depend on the reliability and validity of the teachers' questionnaire, and the students' interview and observation.

9. Definitions of terms
Second Language: is the language that is not ones native language, that is, a language that one learns as an adult, rather than as a child. Second Language Acquisition: is the acquisition of second language which is also called L2 acquisition. Accent: aspects of pronunciation that identify where a speaker is from, in contrast to dialect. Acquisition: the gradual development of ability in a first or second language by using it naturally in communicative situations Affective factors: emotional reactions such as self-consciousness or negative feelings that may influence learning. Applied linguistics: the study of a large range of practical issues involving language in general and second language learning in particular. Arbitrariness: a property of language describing the fact that there is no natural connection between a linguistic form and its meaning. Audio-lingual method: a mid-twentieth-century approach to language teaching, with repetitive drills used to develop fluent spoken language as a set of habits.


Background knowledge: information that is not in a text, but is used from memory by a reader to understand the text. Bilingual: a term used to describe a native speaker of two languages or a country with two official languages, in contrast to monolingual. Bilingualism: the state of having two languages. Brocas aphasia: a language disorder in which speech production is typically reduced or distorted, slow and missing grammatical markers. Communication strategy: a way of overcoming a gap between communicative intent and a limited ability to express that intent, as part of strategic competence. Communicative approach: An approach to language teaching that is based on learning through using language rather than learning about language. Communicative competence: the general ability to use language accurately, appropriately and flexibly. Context: either the physical context or the linguistic context (co-text) in which words are used. Convergence: adopting a speech style that attempts to reduce social distance by using forms that are similar to those used by the person being talked to, as a type of speech accommodation, in contrast to divergence. Conversion: the process of changing the function of a word, such as a noun to a verb, as a way of forming new words, also known as category change or functional shift (e.g. vacation in Theyre vacationing in Florida). Critical period: the time from birth to puberty during which normal first language acquisition can take place. Cultural transmission: the process whereby knowledge of a language is passed from one generation to the next.

Culture: socially acquired knowledge. Dialect: aspects of the grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation of a variety of a language, in contrast to accent. Discourse analysis: the study of language beyond the sentence, in text and conversation. Displacement: a property of language that allows users to talk about things and events not present in the immediate environment. Fossilization: the process whereby an interlanguage, containing many non-L2 features, stops developing toward more accurate forms of the L2. Generative grammar: a set of rules defining the possible sentences in a language. Grammar: the analysis of the structure of phrases and sentences. Grammatical competence: the ability to use words and structures accurately as part of communicative competence. Hedge: a word or phrase used to indicate that you are not really sure that what you are saying is sufficiently correct or complete. Innateness hypothesis: the idea that humans are genetically equipped to acquire language. Input: the language that an acquirer/learner is exposed to, in contrast to

Instrumental motivation: the desire to learn an L2, not to join the community of L2-users, but to achieve some other goal, in contrast to
integrative motivation.

Integrative motivation: the desire to learn an L2 in order to take part in the social life of the community of L2-users, in contrast to instrumental


Interlanguage: the interim system of L2 learners, which has some features of the L1 and L2 plus some that are independent of the L1 and the L2. L1: first language, acquired as a child. L2: second language. Language planning: choosing and developing an official language or languages for use in government and education.