Series Two: “African English, The reason for massive failure in WAEC “English Language”

By: Mike Williams
Author Mark Williams
More often, West Africa students come out of the Examination hall shouting “we killed it” “we murderd the English Language paper” but regretfully when the result is released, they fail.
What could be the possible cause?
Student’s conclusion of the possible cause of their failure runs in essence: The Examiner is wicked, the Examiner was drunk while marking their Examination script, the Examiner is not competent or thy are given a wrong score. Could they be right?
This series is the conclusive part of my previous Article.
I have taken the pain to list and enumerate, grammatical blunders of West African students that leads to their massive failure in English Language. Day to day usage of these errors has made it become a part of the students that they fail to understand that they are wrong and not found in the dictionary.
*Common errors West African students make in English Language Examination*
✓Look at what you have done for me!: Students makes the mistake of using this statement to show criticism instead of appreciation. “Done for” Is appreciative in nature.
•Right usage: If Pamodou helped you, you can say, “Look at what Pamodou did for me!
✓Look at what you have done to me!: This statement should be used to tell the wrong thing done against someone and not the opposite. “Done to” is destructive in nature
• Right usage: If Musu made you sad, you can say: “Look at what Musu did to me!
✓The house is fenced round: while this sound right, it’s totally wrong. Fence is an erected structure done in a round form so saying the house is fenced round is a repetition
• Right usage: The house is Fenced
✓ Escort me to the junction: This should only be used if he person following you is with a weapon to protect you or is a trained military personnel.
•Right usage: Accompany me/See me off to the crossroad
✓How is you doing?: This is used by West African students when they mean to ask about someone’s well being
• Right usage: How are you doing?
✓Uncle/Aunty … Is my teacher: While this is widely used by West African students, it’s totally wrong. An uncle is the brother of your father or mother. An aunt is the sister of your father or mother
• Right usage: Master/Miss/Mrs./Mr. … Is my teacher
✓I want to eat orange: This common error sounds correct as it’s famously used by West African students, but you should understand that oranges are sucked not eaten
• Right usage: I want to suck orange
✓Amie cut the vegetable: This doesn’t sound wrong, so students will say but it’s absolutely wrong as vegetables are not cut but chopped
•Right usage: Amie chopped the vegetables
✓Muhammed dropped the bottle down: This is wrong as anything dropped goes down. So saying this is a repetition
•Right Usage: Muhammed dropped the bottle
✓Me my dog is crying: This is also wrong. Never start a statement with “me”.
•Right usage: My dog is crying
✓I buy a pencil yesterday: This statement is in past form, “buy” is in present form which makes it wrong.
• Right usage: I bought a pencil yesterday
✓Cunny: This is used to describe someone that’s being deceitful or crafty. The  right word is Cunning not cunny
•Right usage: Ibrima is cunning
✓Next tommorow: This is wrong and should be avoided. It’s a day after tommorow and not next tommorow
•Right usage: I will come to see you a day after tomorrow
✓packer:African Students got this word probably from the word pack. The right word is dust pan since dust pan packs refuse
•Right usage: “Give me the dust pan” jallow’s mother asked him
✓Installmentally: Don’t be tempted to use the word “installmentally” there no such word as installmentally in English Dictionary as it exist only in African edition of English Language. The correct word to use is ” in installment”
•Right usage: Ndow was asked to pay in installment
✓opportuned: What exist in English Dictionary is “opportune” without the “d” at the end. Opportune means “timely” or “well time”
•Right usage: Saine is opportune to be educated
✓Disvirgin:This word is used on daily basis by West African students when they intend to say a woman has lost her virginity. There’s no such as disvirgin. The right word is “deflower”
•Right usage: Binta lost her virginity at a tender age/Binta was deflowered at a tender age
✓Trafficate: This is used to describe a situation where a driver indicates to another driver that he/she wants to take a turn. There is no such word as Trafficator in English Dictionary as many West African student use. I.e it’s common to hear them say, The driver is traficating/The driver trafficate…
• Right usage : The driver engaged his car’s indicator
✓Flashing/Flash: West African students knows the word as they are used to it. It’s to say someone made a short call and cut before being answered. The right word to say is “Page me”
•Right usage: page me and I will call you back
✓What is the time going?: This is used by African student to ask what time it is.
• Right usage: What’s it by the time?
✓Only juice I drink: This is to say, he /she drank only juice
•Right usage:I drank only juice
✓How is your father?  He is there!: This is a wrong answer to this question and should be avoided
•Right usage: How is your father? He is fine!
✓They put their soap: This is used to say that someone left  a bar of soap somewhere.
•Right usage: Someone left a bar of soap there
✓I am coming to go to the market: This means to say that he/she want to go to the market
•Right usage:I am going to the market
✓Tap no have: Here student mean to say that the tap is not running
•Right usage: The tap is not running
✓I am hunger: This is wrong and should be avoided.
•Right usage: I am hungry
✓Njie like reading too much: While this sounds right. It’s absolutely wrong.
•Right usage:Njie like reading so much/Njie really like reading
✓Fatou work at MRC during five years: This is meant to say that fatou worked for MRC for the past five years.
•Right usage: Fatou worked with MRC for five years
✓yahaddy don’t find it: This is  meant to say that yahaddy could not find what she was looking for
•Right usage: Yahaddy can’t find it/Yahaddy didn’t find it
✓I am sorry but it doesn’t have sense to me: Here is meant to say that the subject of discussion is ridiculous and not comprehensible
•Right usage:I am sorry but it doesn’t make sense to me
✓Musu is flying to UK to make business: This is meant to say that Musu travels to the UK to do business
•Right usage: Musu is traveling to the UK to do business/Musu travels to UK for a business trip
✓This night we are going to the cinema: what’s wrong with this? Students ask, but the right word to use is “Tonight”
•Right usage:Tonight we are going to the cinema
✓Can you confirm me the date of the meeting?: This is when one mean to ask for the confirmation of the date of a meeting. Note: “to” is missing in this statement
•Right usage: Can you confirm to me the date of the meeting?
✓Kaddy did a business travel last month: Here is meant to say that kaddy went on a business trip the previous month
•Right usage: Kaddy went on a business trip last month
✓Are you agree with me? : This is when someone is trying to get the consent of a person
•Right usage:Do you agree with me?
✓We are fifty peoples in my class: This is wrong and should be avoided. A class should be with students and there’s no such word as peoples
•Right usage: There are fifty students in my class
✓It depends of my friend: Here one means to say that his/her friend has the final say in the subject of discussion
•Right usage: It depends on my friend
✓Raphael thinks in money all the time: This is when one tries to say that someone thinks about money always
•Right usage: Raphael thinks about money all the time
✓I pass out of school in 2020: This is commonly used by West African students and should be corrected
•Right usage: I graduated in 2020
✓Applyment for manage work: This is trying to write to apply for the position of a Manager
•Right usage: application for the post of a Manager
✓Sit down! the teacher ordered Lamin: “sit” means of a person to be in a position in which the upper body is upright and the legs are supported by some object. Saying sit down is a repetition
•Rigt usage: Sit! The teacher ordered Lamin
✓I am going to the toilet: This is commonly used by West African student but should be avoided as it sounds irritating than pleasant
•Right usage: I am going to the rest room
✓If you want to broke up, it’s fine: Here one is trying to say that he/she is fine if his/her partner wants to break up with him/her
•Right usage: If you want to break up with me, it’s fine
✓I should be the one to thanks you for everything: Here is meant to say that he/she is meant to show appreciation and not the other way round
•Right usage:I should be the one to thank you for everything/ I should be the one to say thank you for everything
✓Are you going to be coming in weekdays?: This is totally wrong and unacceptable.
•Right usage: Are you going to come on weekdays?
Of course it’s obvious that West African students translate their mother tongues directly into English Language and this has brought about this default in their possible success. It’s paramount that they understand how wrong they are early enough. While following these corrections, many will mock you but keep going. Learn these corrections, make them a part of your daily use and the stars will be your limit
 My greatest wish is to see you all come out with A’s in your English Language!

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