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AN EXAMINATION OF SENTENCES AND THEIR APPROPRIATENESS IN SELECTED NIGERIAN CHILDREN’S NOVELS

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ABSTRACT
This thesis has examined sentences and their appropriateness in selected Nigerian children‟s novels. The novels include An African Night Entertainment by Cyprian Ekwensi, Tales out of School by Nkem Nwankwo, Akpan and the Smugglers by Rosemary Uwemedimo and Adventures of Souza by Kola Onadipe. Using the Traditional Grammar model, sentences fromthese texts were classified according to structure and according to function and then analysed. It was found that there is a preponderant use of simple, compound and complex sentences, while the use of the compound complex sentence is very minimal. It was also found that sentence fragments were only used in dialogue situations. Also in the course of the research, children between ages 9 to 11 selected from five public schools and five private schools in Kaduna metropolis were asked to read and interpret the various types of sentences elicited from the selected novels and it was found that while the simple, compound and complex sentences were easily read and understood, the longer compound complex sentences posed a problem to the children.





CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
1.0              Background to the Study
Western Education was introduced into Nigeria by Christian missionaries around the middle of the nineteenth century. These missionaries remained in charge of dictating the direction and pace of language education from that period to the dawn of independence. They believed that the African child (and by implication, the Nigerian child) was best taught in his native language (Hair, 1967: 6) and that the interests of Christianity would be best served by actually propagating the religion in indigenous languages. As a result, language education began to focus more on the teaching and learning of indigenous languages.
From the early eighties, the Nigerian government gradually began to intervene in education with the view of according English language a lot more prominence in its policy. In 1996, the National Policy on Education (NPE) stipulated that introduction to literacy in Nigeria begins with pre-primary education. The language of instruction at that level is the child‟s mother tongue or language of the immediate environment. Exposure to English language as a school subject begins at the primary level while the language of instruction remains the child‟s mother tongue or language of the immediate environment.

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