This chapter provides a description of the theoretical framework of the study. It presents the context of the study, the research objectives, the statement of the problems, and the research significance. The chapter also presents research questions, the research methodology and limits of the study.
1.1 Background of the study
Language is used by people to communicate with one another to express their feelings, thoughts, opinions and ideas. Therefore, it is very important in human life. Language can be defined as a group of sounds with specific meanings and organized by grammatical rules.
English can be considered as an international language. It is the only language used by almost every country to communicate their ideas with other nations and it helps to help learn new technology, learn different cultures and to transfer knowledge, because most books are written in the English language. Therefore English is important learnt by everyone. It has become a very important function for human’s life. As a result of that, it is important to learn English language to get new knowledge. There are some countries which learn English as their first second language and it has become a compulsory subject. Therefore, students should learn English up to their University level.
Spoken and written language use to transfer information with one another. However, there is a difference between spoken and written communication. Oral communication refers to spoken words that depend on the sense of hearing of others. It takes place in a situation where people are talking to each other face to face. The choice of words and tone of voice of the speaker makes all the difference. But in written language there is no tone to use. Writing is not in context. In spoken language, people can use facial expressions, body language, eye contact, gestures to express the speaker’s ideas and thoughts. Therefore, the listener can guess what the speaker is saying by looking at his/her body language. Oral communication differs from the written language, because there is no any text in oral language and there is no response between speaker and listener in written communication. There the writer is removed.
Writing is one of the language skills that the students should develop to express their ideas, thoughts and feelings indirectly to another person.
There are four skills in the teaching any language. They are listening, speaking, reading and writing. All of them are very important. Especially in writing there are many aspects such as
Grammar is the system of a language and it describes the “rule” of a language. In writing, the writer has to think about sentence structure, subject/verb, punctuation, spelling and other parts of speech, because a simple mistake can change the meaning of the sentence. Therefore, the writer has to think about each and every rule when writing and pay attention to write complete sentences. But in speaking, the speaker can avoid some words to convey his/her idea. For example,
Sentence 1:- “I don’t want” (in speaking)
Sentence 2:- “I don’t want the pencil” (in writing)
Vocabulary plays an important part in speaking and writing. When learning a foreign language, vocabulary is one of the most important things to develop. It is more difficult to communicate without vocabulary, because reader/listener cannot understand what the speaker/writer is saying without knowing the appropriate words.
Especially in writing, the writer should use appropriate words to convey the meaning of the sentences with proper vocabulary. But in speaking, the speaker does not need to use every word. There the speaker can omit some words and point out the things instead of saying the word. For instance;
Sentence 1 :- “Give me that” ( speaker points out the pen without saying the word) –
Sentence 2 :- ” Give me that pen”
Here, writer should write the word “pen”. Otherwise the reader does not know whatit is in about.
Coherence is the way a text makes sense to the reader and the writer through the relevance and accessibility of its configuration of concepts, ideas and theories. Simply, the speaker is talking on a particular topic, at once he/she can change the topic and ask another thing and again come back to the topic on which they were talking before.
For instance; two people are talking about the importance of learning English Language. At once one person ask another question which is not related to the topic and again talks about importance of learning English language.
Spoken language, sometimes called oral language is opposed to written language. Spoken language is a language produced by articulate sounds. There, people use different intonation patterns to express their ideas. It can be specific. Therefore, it differs from person to person. However it is much more complex.
Punctuation marks are symbols that play a critical role in the writing system. It plays a major role in developing writing. If they are used in an improper way, it makes a text difficult to understand. Most of the time, second language students ignore the use of punctuation marks in their writing. Essay writing, paragraph writing, letter writing, application writing are major questions in the exam paper and they cover about 60% of the marks. However, due to poor knowledge of punctuation marks, students get lower marks in their test.
“Kill him not let him go”
If the writer uses the comma incorrectly, it even can decide the fate of the person.
“Kill him, not let him go” – comma after “him” means that he should be killed, should not be given a chance to go.
“Kill him not, let him go” – comma after “not” means that he should not be killed, but should
In this study, the writer has limited the research into six types of punctuation. The six punctuation marks are full stop, comma, question mark, colon, semi colon and apostrophe. In addition to that, it was important for the researcher to limit the punctuation used on a theoretical basis. Therefore, this study is aimed at finding out the punctuation errors made by the students of the Technical College- Galle in their writing.
1.3 Statement of the Problem
There are many reasons for applying improper punctuation marks in writing. As a result the reader gets misunderstanding about the students’ writing. For instance, there are students who write “Where are you going!” reader might regard that sentence as exclamatory. Students should write the question mark instead of the exclamatory mark. As a result of that the reader will be confused on how to understand that sentence.
Sometimes the students never pay attention when applying punctuation marks and they think that punctuation marks are little elements. But, if an error of punctuation is made in writing, it will confuse the reader. Therefore, the reader may not understand what the writer has written. So that using the right punctuation is very important in students’ writing.
This research attempts to explore and study the errors made by the students of the College of Technology in using punctuation in writing. The researcher hopes the study results could give a positive output for improving students’ standard in punctuation in writing.
The inability of the students in the College of Technology to use the relevant punctuation marks drew the researcher’s attention to do this research.
1.4 Research questions
This study will try to provide answers for the following questions:
1. What kind of punctuation errors do the Technical College students make in their writing?
2. What are the common errors in using punctuation marks in writing?
3. What is the main factor that influences the students’ errors in writing?
1.5 Research objectives
Based on the problems of the study, the main objectives are as follows,
1. To identify the knowledge of using punctuation marks in writing.
2. To find out the errors that the students are making in different marks in writing.
1.6 Research Time
The research was conducted at the third semester in the academic year of 2017
1.7 Limitation of the problem
This study is concentrated on exploring the errors made in placing punctuation made by the students of the College of Technology – Galle. Therefore, the writer limited the areas, collect, identify, classify and analyze the data on using wrong as inadequate punctuation by using test. The writer uses the limitation in order to give a clear description of the discussion in this study. The writer also hopes that this research will help students to be aware of the importance of punctuation in writing, so that they can improve their writing skills.
There are sixteen punctuation marks, but due to the shortage of time, the researcher has limited the study to find six common errors made by students; full stop, Comma, Colon, Semi-Colon, apostrophe, question marks.
This study will take place with a selected group of technical college students in Galle. Therefore, in order to act by the result of this research study this same research procedure needs to be followed with reference to their groups.