oa Marang : Journal of Language and Literature - English pronouns in the writing of some Batswana students

Volume 18, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1816-7659



This paper examines the morphological and syntactic differences between English and Setswana pronouns, and how these differences manifest in students usage of English pronouns at the University of Botswana. It also discusses some of the ways by which the learners may be assisted to become more proficient in using English pronouns. An analysis of 542 essays written by second and fourth year students of the Department of English reveal the following categories of pronoun errors: the intrusion of an independent subject pronoun between a subject and its verb, the conflation of the standard expression the onethe other into the otherthe other, inter substitution of they/there/their, lack of gender and case distinctions, use of pronouns without antecedents and pronoun referent agreement errors. In terms of the sources of these errors, the paper shows that the first six types of errors seem to relate directly or indirectly to the morphological and syntactic structures of Setswana pronouns while the last type is largely intralingual. The paper recommends that policy planners should recognise the existence of Botswana English and its influence on learners acquisition of English, and appropriately reflect this in language teaching policy, tests and exams in the country. It also suggests that teachers should raise their awareness of Botswana English in order to be able to distinguish between learners usage that are unpredictable and those that have become systematic localisms, and delegate more learning responsibility to the learners themselves.

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