ENGLISH LANGUAGE

WAEC SYLLABUS ON ENGLISH LANGUAGE

PREAMBLE:

This examination sets out to test the different basic skills of communicating in English using themediums of speech and writing. The examination will test the receptive and productive abilitiesof candidates. These abilities will be demonstrated in the following forms: reading,comprehension, summary, vocabulary, lexis and structure, listening comprehension andrecognition of different aspects of spoken English.

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES:

The objective of the syllabus is to measure the extent to which the aims of the teachingsyllabuses of member countries have been realized in candidates’ secondary school career. Theexamination sets out to examine candidates’ ability to
(i) use correct English;
(ii) write about incidents in English that are appropriate to specified audiences and situations;
(iii) organize material in paragraphs that are chronologically, spatially and logically coherent;
(iv) control sentence structures accurately;
(v) exhibit variety in the use of sentence patterns;
(vi) comply with the rules of grammar;
(vii) spell and punctuate correctly;
(viii) comprehend written and spoken English;
(ix) recognize implied meaning, tones and attitudes;
(x) use an acceptable pronunciation that can be comprehended by others;
(xi) recognize the physical characteristics of English sounds and the letters that representthem;
(xii) pick out and summarize relevant information from set passages.


SCHEME OF EXAMINATION:

There will be three papers – Papers 1, 2 and 3, all of which must be taken. Papers 1 and 2 will bea composite paper to be taken at one sitting.

PAPER 1:

Will consist of eighty multiple choice questions, all of which should be answeredwithin 1 hour for 40 marks.

PAPER 2:

Will consist of five essay topics and a passage each to test candidates’comprehension and summary skills. Candidates will be expected to write an essayon one of the topics and answer all the questions on the comprehension andsummary passages. The paper will last 2 hours and carry 100 marks.

PAPER 3:

Will consist of sixty multiple choice items on Test of Orals for candidates inNigeria and Liberia, and Listening Comprehension Test for candidates in theGambia and Sierra Leone. All the questions should be answered in 45 minutes for30 marks.


DETAILED SYLLABUS

PAPER 1:(For candidates in The Gambia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Liberia only)

This is an objective/multiple choice paper comprising eighty questions: forty lexical andforty structural questions. Each question will have four options lettered A to D.

A. LEXIS

In addition to items testing knowledge of the vocabulary of everyday usage (i.e home,social relationships, and common core school subjects) questions will be set to testcandidates’ ability in the use of the general vocabulary associated with the followingfields of human activity:
I.
(a) Building and Building Construction;
(b) Agriculture;
(c) Fishing;
(d) Stock exchange;
(e) Health;
(f) Environment;
(g) Culture, Institutions and Ceremonies;
(h) Law and Order;
(i) Motor Vehicles and Travelling;
(j) Government and Administration;
(k) Sports;
(l) Religion;
(m) Science and Technology;
(n) Animal husbandry;
(o) Advertising;
(p) Human Internal Body system and function.
II. Idioms, i.e. idiomatic expressions and collocations (e.g. ‘hook, line and sinker’, ‘everyTom, Dick and Harry” etc.) the total meaning of which cannot be arrived at simply byconsideration of the dictionary meanings of the words in the structures in which theyappear.
III. Structural elements of English e.g. sequence of tenses, matching of pronouns with theirantecedents, correct use of prepositions etc.
IV. Figurative Usage The term ‘general’ vocabulary refers to those words and usage of words normallyassociated with the fields of human activity in A1 above which are generally known, usedand understood by most educated people who, while not engaged in that field of activitymay have occasion to read, speak or write about it.
Thus, for example, in the vocabularyof transportation by road, one would expect knowledge of terms such as ‘pedestrianbridge’ and ‘traffic signs’ which most educated people understand, but not ‘berm’ or‘camber’ which are specialized.
All items will be phrased in such a way as to test the use and understanding of therequired lexis, rather than dictionary definitions and explanations.
In practice, the test oflexis will be so designed as to explore, not merely the extent of the candidates’vocabulary but more importantly their ability to respond to sense relations in the use oflexical items e.g. synonyms, antonyms and homonyms.In the test of figurative language, candidates will be expected to recognize when anexpression is used figuratively and not only when it is used literally.

B. STRUCTURE

Structure here includes:
(i) The patterns of changes in word-forms which indicate number, tense, degree, etc;
(ii) The patterns in which different categories of words regularly combine to formgroups and these groups in turn combine to form sentences;
(iii) The use of structural words e.g. conjunctions, determiners, prepositions, etc.

PAPER 1:

(For candidates in Ghana only)
This is a multiple choice objective paper comprising eighty questions which will be madeup of two parts: Parts A and B. Part A will consist of thirty lexical and twenty structuredquestions, while Part B will have thirty objective questions on literature.
Each question will have four options lettered A to D.

A. LEXIS

In addition to items testing knowledge of the vocabulary of everyday usage (i.e. home,social relationships, common core school subjects) questions will be set to test thecandidates’ ability in the use of the general vocabulary associated with the followingfields of human activity:
I.
(a) Building;
(b) Plumbing;
(c) Fishing;
(d) Finance – commerce, banking, stock exchange, insurance;
(e) Photography;
(f) Mineral exploration;
(g) Common manufacturing industries;
(h) Printing, publishing, the press and libraries;
(i) Sea, road, rail and air transport;
(j) Government and politics;
(k) Sports and entertainment;
(l) Religion;
(m) Science and Technology;
(n) Power production – hydro, thermal, solar;
(o) Education;
(p) Communication;
(q) Military;
(r) Journalism and Advertising.
The term ‘general vocabulary’ refers to those words and usage of words normallyassociated with the relevant field of human activity in (i) above which aregenerally known, used and understood by most educated people, who, while notengaged in that field of activity, may have occasion to read, speak or write aboutit. Thus, for example, in the vocabulary of transportation by sea, one wouldexpect knowledge of terms such as “bridge” and “deck”, which most educatedpeople understand but not “halyard”, “dodge”, “davit” or “thrust block”, whichare specialized.
II. Idioms, i.e., idiomatic expressions and collocations (e.g. “hook, line and sinker”,“every Tom, Dick and Harry” etc) the total meaning of which cannot be arrived atsimply by the consideration of the dictionary meanings of words in the structures inwhich they appear.
III. Structural elements of English e.g. sequence of tenses, concord and the useof correct prepositions, matching of pronouns with their antecedents, etc.
IV. Figurative Usage All items will be phrased in such a way as to test the use and understanding of therequired lexis, rather than dictionary definitions and explanations.
In practice, the testof lexis will be designed to explore, not merely the extent of the candidates’vocabulary but more importantly their ability to respond to sense relations in the useof lexical items e.g. synonyms, antonyms and homonyms.
In the test of figurative language, candidates will be expected to recognize when anexpression is used figuratively and not only when it is used.

B. STRUCTURE

Structure here includes::
(i) The patterns of changes in word-forms which indicate number, tense,degree, etc.
(ii) The patterns in which different categories of words regularly combine toform groups and these groups in turn combine to form sentences;
(iii) The use of structural words e.g. conjunctions, determiners, prepositions,etc.

C. LITERATURE

The objective questions on Literature will be as follows:
10 questions on Drama
10 questions on Prose
10 questions on Poetry
NOTE: For Prose and Drama the candidate is to study one prescribed text each.

PAPER 2: (For all candidates)

The paper will be divided into three sections: Sections A, B and C. Candidates will be requiredto spend 2 hours on this paper.

SECTION A: ESSAY WRITING (50 marks)

Candidates will be required to spend 50 minutes on this section. There will be five questions inall and candidates will be required to answer only one question.
The questions will test candidates’ ability to communicate in writing. The topics will demand thefollowing kinds of writing:
(i) letter;
(ii) speech;
(iii) narration;
(iv) description;
(v) argument/debate;
(vi) report;
(vii) article;
(viii) exposition;
(ix) creative writing.
Marks will be awarded for:
(i) Content: relevance of ideas to the topic;
(ii) Organization: formal features (where applicable), good paragraphing, appropriateemphasis and arrangement of ideas;
(iii) Expression: effective control of vocabulary and sentence structure;
(iv) Mechanical Accuracy: correct grammar, punctuation, spelling etc.
The minimum length will be 450 words.

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SECTION B: COMPREHENSION (20 marks)

Candidates will be required to spend 30 minutes on this section.
The section will consist ofone passage of at least three hundred and fifty (350) words. Candidates will be required toanswer all the questions on the passage.
The questions will test candidates’ ability to
(i) find appropriate equivalents for selected words or phrases;
(ii) understand the factual content;
(iii) make inferences from the content of the passage;
(iv) understand the use of English expressions that reveal/reflectsentiments/emotions/attitudes;
(v) identify and label basic grammatical structures, words, phrases or clauses and explaintheir functions as they appear in the context;
(vi) identify and explain basic literary terms and expressions;
(vii) recast phrases or sentences into grammatical alternatives.
The passage will be chosen from a wide variety of sources all of which should be suitable forthis level of examination in terms of theme and interest.
The passage will be written inmodern English that should be within the experience of candidates.
The comprehension testwill include at least four questions based on (ii) above.

SECTION C: SUMMARY (30 marks)

Candidates will be required to spend 40 minutes on this section. The section will consist ofone prose passage of about five hundred (500) words and will test candidates’ ability to
(i) extract relevant information;
(ii) summarize the points demanded in clear concise English, avoiding repetition andredundancy;
(iii) present a summary of specific aspects or portions of the passage.
The passage will be selected from a wide variety of suitable sources, including excerpts fromnarratives, dialogues and expositions of social, cultural, economic and political issues in anypart of the world.

PAPER 3: ORAL ENGLISH (30 marks)

This paper will test candidates’ knowledge of Oral English. There will be two alternatives forthis paper: Candidates in Ghana, The Gambia and Sierra Leone will be tested in listeningcomprehension and those in Nigeria and Liberia will take a paper on test of oral.

Listening Comprehension Test (For candidates in Ghana, The Gambia and Sierra Leone)

This will be made up of sixty multiple choice objective questions on:

Consonants, consonant clusters, vowels, diphthongs, stress and intonation patterns,dialogues and narratives.


Section 1:Test of word final voiced-voiceless consonants in isolated words mainly, but otherfeatures such as consonant clusters may also be tested.
Section 2:Test of vowel quality in isolated words.
Section 3:Test of vowel quality and consonant contrasts in isolated words.
Section 4:One of three options below will be used in different years:
(i) test of vowel and/or consonant contrasts in sentence contexts;
(ii) test of vowel and consonant contrasts in isolated words- to be selected from a listof at least four-word contrasts;
(iii) test of vowel and consonant contrasts through rhymes.
Section 5:Test of rhymes
Section 6:Test of comprehension of emphatic stress
Section 7:Test of understanding of the content of longer dialogues and narratives
NOTE: CD players will be used for the administration of this Listening ComprehensionTest.
Features to be tested

1. CONSONANTS

(a) Single Consonants – Candidates should be able to recognize and produce allsignificant sound contrasts in the consonantal system of English. For the guidance ofcandidates, a few examples of such contrasts are given below.

Initial
they – day
ship – chip
fan – van
pit – fit
pit – bit
tuck – duck
card – guard
gear – jeer

Medial
buzzes – buses
parcel – partial
sopping – sobbing
written – ridden
anger – anchor
faces - phrases
prices – prizes

Final
boat – both
breathe – breed
wash – watch
leaf – leave
cup – cub
cart – card

(b) Consonant Clusters – Candidates should be able to produce and recognize consonantclusters which may occur both initially and finally in a syllable. They should also beable to recognize and produce the consonant sounds in a consonant cluster in the rightorder. For the guidance of candidates, a few examples are given below.

Initial
play – pray
sting – string
scheme – scream
crime – climb
flee – free
three – tree
true – drew
blight – bright
tread – thread
drift – thrift
glade – grade

Final
rains - range
felt – felled
sent – send
nest – next
ask – axe
lift – lived
missed – mixed
seats – seeds
hens – hence
lisp – lips
coast – coats
marks – masks

II. VOWELS

(a) Pure Vowels
(b) Diphthongs
(c) Triphthongs
Candidates should be able to recognize and produce all the significant sound contrasts in thevowel system of English. For the guidance of candidates, a few examples of such contrasts aregiven below.

seat - sit
sit - set
peck - pack
pack - park
cart - cat
load - lord
pair - purr
park - port
hard - heard
word - ward
let - late
cheer - chair
pet - pat - part - pate
hat - heart - height - hate - hut
caught - cot - cut - curt
pool - pull - pole
bird - bed - bared
but - bat

III. STRESS

(a) Word Stress - Candidates should be able to contrast stressed and unstressed syllables inwords which are not otherwise distinguished. In addition, they should be aware of thepossibility of shifting stress from one syllable to another in different derivations of thesame word with consequent change in vowel quality.
For the guidance of candidates, afew examples of changing word stress are given below.
NOUNVERBS
‘increase (noun)in’crease (verb)
‘import (noun)im’port (verb)
‘rebel (noun)re’bel (verb)

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‘convict (noun)con’vict (verb)
‘extract (noun)ex’tract (verb)
‘record (noun)re’cord (verb)
‘subject (noun)sub’ject (verb)
(b) Sentence Stress - Candidates should be aware that stress in sentences in English tends tooccur at regular intervals in time.
English is therefore called a stress-timed language.
They should also be aware that in most sentences, unless some sort of emphasis isintroduced, only nouns, main verbs (not auxiliaries), adjectives and adverbs are stressed.
Final pronouns should not be stressed, unless some kind of contrast is intended: relativepronouns should not be stressed, nor should possessive pronouns.
Thus, for example, thefollowing sentences should be stressed as indicated:
He ‘went to the town and ‘bought some ‘oranges.
I ‘told him to ‘go to the ‘station to ‘ask when the train would ‘leave.
Did you ‘ask him?
I ‘read it but I did not understand it.
They ar’rived yesterday.
I ‘fetched his ‘book.
NOTE: There are a few words in English that are pronounced differently depending onwhether or not they are stressed in the sentence. These are usually called strongand weak forms.

(c) Emphatic stress – Candidates should be aware of the use of emphatic stress, mostcommonly to indicate a contrast, which is realized partly as a change in pitch within theintonational pattern. This falling pitch illustrated below is one of the common ways ofindicating this:
He borrowed ‘my newspaper. (i.e. not hers)
He’ borrowed my newspaper. (i.e. he did not steal it)
He borrowed my ‘newspaper.(i.e. not my book)
‘He borrowed my newspaper.(i.e. not someone else’s)

IV. INTONATION

Candidates should be made aware of the different forms that English intonation takes inrelation to the grammar of the language and the attitudes conveyed by the speaker.
Thereare two basic intonation patterns or tunes: the falling and rising patterns.
They shouldalso realize that whereas the normal place for the changing pitch in an intonation is thelast stressed syllable of the utterance(as indicated below), placing the changing pitchelsewhere implies a contrast to the item on which this changing pitch falls. For example:
(a) Falling Pattern
They ar’rived to’day. - Statement
‘Where did he ‘go? - WH question
‘Come ‘here! - Command

(b) Rising Pattern
Did he ‘see the ‘principal? - Yes/No question
When the ‘train arrived. - Incomplete
They arrived to’day? - Question

Note that (i) the two patterns indicated above may be combined in longer sentences, e.g.When the ‘train ar’rived, the passengers were on the platform. ( )

(ii) candidates should note, in addition, that any unstressed syllable following the laststressed syllable of the sentence is said on a low level pitch when the pattern isfalling, but continues the rise if the pattern is rising. The same rule applies to tagsfollowing quoted speech.

Test Of Orals (For candidates in Nigeria and Liberia)

The test will also be of the multiple-choice objective type consisting of sixty questions on a widerange of areas or aspects of Orals as contained in the syllabus.
The test will cover the following areas:
1. Vowels – pure vowels and diphthongs;
2. Consonants and clusters;
3. Rhymes;
4. Word stress/Syllable Structure;
5. Emphatic Stress/Intonation Patterns;
6. Phonetic Symbols.

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