Irregular Verb Acquisition Among EFL and ESL Learners in Cameroon: Peculiarities of Group 4 and 5 Verbs

Ngasu Betek Etengeneng


Acquisition patterns of irregular verbs by Second and Foreign Language learners of English in Cameroon present remarkable peculiarities that emanate from the country’s unique linguistic identity, where French, English and a multiplicity of local languages are spoken. Following on a previous study (see Ngasu Betek 2020) this study documents these peculiarities, but with a focus on Group 4 and 5 irregular verbs, to ascertain the mastery of English irregular verbs. From a population of nine hundred (900) students from six selected schools in Cameroon, samples of their production in English irregular verb usage were collected. The specific classes were Forms One, Three, Five, (of the Anglophone sub-system of secondary education), and Sixième, Quatrième and Seconde students (from the Francophone sub-system of secondary education). Using Simple Random Sampling Technique, completion tasks were administered and the results analysed to identify and map traceable frequency patterns of use by students. A comparative analysis of the two leaner clusters was carried out which revealed ESL and EFL learners of English in Cameroon both exhibited challenges in using irregular verbs either through overgeneralizations or through morphological distortions of irregular verbs especially at the past tense. This paper thus informs on best practices for successful learning, specifically in the acquisition of irregular verbs by L1 and L2 learners in schools in Cameroon.

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World Journal of Education
ISSN 1925-0746(Print)  ISSN 1925-0754(Online)

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