The Challenges of Rule-Based Learning of the Comma Among Nigerian English Users


    Learners of English in Nigeria hardly relate punctuation and meaning in written expressions or recognize the relationship between intonation and punctuation. There is a proliferation of incorrect use of punctuation marks, especially commas, among students and even graduates. The investigation therefore focuses on the use of the comma among students of the College of Education Gindiri. 40 students were interviewed and issued a questionnaire to find out why and how they use the comma. Data from the questionnaire and interviews were collected and analyzed. The investigation revealed that most of the students use the commas more in compliance with some kind of abstract rules than the need to enhance meaning. This explains why it is difficult for most students and graduates to correctly use the comma.  It is taught or used largely based on rules; as such learners don’t realize its creative application to enhance meaning. The researchers recommend that approaches to the teaching of punctuation should de-emphasize the rule approach and focus instead on its output. Function as regards clarity of expression and information should be emphasized not mechanical functions.

    Keywords: Changes, Meaning Intonation, Punctuation Marks  

    DOI: 10.36349/zamijoh.2023.v02i03.004

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    author/Jacob Ado Ama & Joseph Nuhu Azi 

    journal/Zamfara IJOH Vol. 2, Issue 3