ENGLISH

The English department, in its quest to meet the ever increasing demand locally and internationally has developed cutting edge programs to ensure students who wish to pursue the language do so with ease and master the language within the shortest time possible.

The language is taught in modular basis as follows:

  • Beginner
  • Pre-Intermediate
  • Intermediate
  • Upper Intermediate
  • Advanced

In addition to this, the department also offers specialized services in the following areas:

  • Preparation for International Exams such as IELTS, TOEFL, PITMAN, GMAT and GRE
  • Pre-University English program for those intending to pursue university courses in Kenya and do not meet the minimum threshold for English. {This program has been validated by Tangaza College}.

NB: Each level takes 14o hours i.e 35 days

 

The Origin of English:  Dynamics, Challenges and Opportunities

English is a West Germanic language that originated from the Anglo-Frisian dialects brought to Britain by Germanic invaders from various parts of what is now northwest Germany and the Netherlands. Initially, Old English was a diverse group of dialects, reflecting the varied origins of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England. One of these dialects, Late West Saxon, eventually came to dominate.
The original Old English language was then influenced by two further waves of invasion: the first by speakers of the Scandinavian branch of the Germanic language family, who conquered and colonized parts of Britain in the 8th and 9th centuries; the second by the Normans in the 11th century, who spoke Old Norman and ultimately developed an English variety of this called Anglo-Norman. These two invasions caused English to become “mixed” to some degree.

Simplification and Lexical Enrichment
Cohabitation with the Scandinavians resulted in a significant grammatical simplification and lexical enrichment of the Anglo-Frisian core of English; the later Norman occupation led to the grafting onto that Germanic core of a more elaborate layer of words from the Romance languages (Latin-based languages). This Norman influence entered English largely through the courts and government. Thus, English developed into a “borrowing” language of great flexibility, resulting in an enormous and varied vocabulary.

Domestication of Language and Challenges
This brief history therefore illustrates the complexities involved in the teaching and dispensation of knowledge in English especially in areas such as Lexis and Phonetics. The numerous changes which have seen English develop from a onetime native and remote language to one of the most used languages in the world have therefore necessitated a dynamic  view and a real paradigm shift on the part of the trainers to realize a holistic impartation of the language on the learners.
Most of these changes were as a result of conquests, invasions, scramble for lands and subsequent colonization of most countries especially by great powers such as Britain, France, Germany, Belgium and Spain. The domestication of English as official language particularly in most parts of Africa was first, colonial in nature but in independent Africa it’s now a necessity. This is motivated by such factors as commerce, international relations and the greater need-globalization.

Constant Change
The revolution is endless since language is dynamic thus more changes in English; technology perhaps is the hallmark of this language.  New terminologies emerge every day as technology advances at break neck speed. The dictionary therefore has to be updated in order to be in tandem with these changes. Computer use for example has spewed a host of lexis which is finding way into English.  The conflict between British and American English is also seen as a major challenge to learmers of the same as they struggle to discern differences in spelling, pronunciation and diction. For example, English learners learn that the sport is football but soon after come across soccer. Others have to come to terms with differences on such words as centre and center, organise and organise etc.
One of the other interesting developments in English is the redundancy of certain words to pave way for new ones. A number of words which were used in the 18th century have over the time changed meaning while others have even been relegated to peripheral use.

Copying with the Changes
It is therefore incumbent of language teachers to incessantly engage in research to broaden their understanding and improve mastery of this language. Keeping abreast with local and international languages and related areas arena help equip the teacher with relevant and efficient ways of delivering content hence giving the learners an upper hand in learning and applying English in their respective areas of call.
Finally, the understanding that English is a product of a number of other languages calls on English trainers to equally acquaint themselves with these other languages in order to deal with challenges which cut across languages, most commonly in Africa, the Anglo-Francophone divide which, more oft than not present a challenge to trainers. It’s imperative therefore that English trainers learn such other languages as French, Spanish, Italian or even German.

From the English Dept Desk: Tomno Dominic and Petronila Musau


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