The Communicative Ability of Universiti Teknologi MARA Sarawak’s Graduates

  •  Sharifah Zakiah Wan Hassan    
  •  Simon Faizal Hakim    
  •  Mahdalela Rahim    
  •  John Francis Noyem    
  •  Sueb Ibrahim    
  •  Johnny Ahmad    
  •  Kamaruzaman Jusoff    


This study explores Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Sarawak graduating students’ oral proficiency, focusing on grammatical accuracy. Oral proficiency in English has always been the benchmark of language proficiency, and in the context of UiTM’s language teaching curriculum, efforts to enhance students’ oral proficiency are implemented through various languages proficiency-based and ESP courses. A small corpus of group discussions was analysed to identify and classify grammatical errors and other performance factors in students’ oral communication. The analysis was carried out using text analysis software used in corpus linguistics (Dagneaux et al, 1998, Scott, 1996). The software was used to classify grammatical errors into general categories such as grammar, word, lexical, formal, style, lexico grammar and register. It was found that the students who took part in group discussions displayed frequent lexical, grammatical and formal errors. Also there was much evidence of performance phenomena such as hesitation, repetitions, incomplete structures and redundancy. This provides evidence that, despite many years of ESL input, some UiTM graduating students still seem to require a great deal of practice with basic grammatical structures. The practical implications derived from the findings of the study suggest that teachers and curriculum developers ought to help students develop their proficiency in English language learning by giving them ample opportunity to use, produce and practice English language structures or sentences through simulated situations in various immersion activities in class and outside the classroom as well as introducing consciousness-raising techniques to sensitise learners to the various forms and meanings of structures used in everyday conversation in English.

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