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Influence of Technology on the English Vocabulary among Senior Secondary School Students

Influence of Technology on the English Vocabulary among Senior Secondary School Students



This study examined the influence of technology on the English vocabulary among senior secondary school students in Abakaliki Urban. This study adopted a descriptive research design. The population of this study consists of all the senior secondary school students in the selected schools. There are fourteen senior secondary schools in Abakaliki urban area. Out of the fourteen, six are private while others are public secondary schools. Four schools (comprising two public and two private secondary schools) were used out of the fourteen schools.

Simple random sampling is used to select hundred (100) students. The instrument used for data collection in this study was students’ essay writing. This was done by using essays of students in senior secondary schools students in some selected schools in Abakaliki urban of Ebonyi state. It becomes imperative to use the students who constitute generation Y and Z and are agent of language change through technology. Related literature was reviewed.

The results presented in Chapter Four show that there is no high regard for maintaining the convention of vocabulary formations. This is exhibited in the scripts where there is no student that showed remorse through cancellation and/or re-writing the ‘unusual’ words he or she used. It further provided evidence that mobile phones and internet technologies have effects on the Standard Vocabulary of the language because those devices are inseparable from students.

Moreover, there will always be individuals who see language change in this technological era as language decline and believe in ‘Golden Age’ that are going by. It is a futile effort to language change, especially as new technologies evolve. It should also be noticed that conventional vocabulary is still important to the younger generation, but lack of centre of control, thus the use of Weak-Tie Theory in this research, allows users to avoid being ridiculed against the unconventional vocabulary as it becomes more and more acceptable. All these have made the researcher to follow the two research questions closely and remain focused on the influence of technology on the English vocabulary.


Influence of Technology on the English Vocabulary among Senior Secondary School Students




1.1       Background to the Study

The influence of technology and internet on the English vocabulary among secondary school students is clearly seen and touched in various ways and means. First, it adds lots of “jargon vocabulary”. Second, it provides meaning to existing words and terms, such as the meaning of ‘mouse’ and ‘keyboard’ and so on. Moreover, it produces words on unifying the utterance of people all over the world as they meet each other via social media although they are from remote places. In addition, technology can lead to special linguistic “memes” faster and much further than ever before. For example, the word ‘cloud’ stands for nebulous group of people working on computers in a universal use.

Since the spread of the internet in the early 1990’s, it became a very significant component in the process of globalization and the widespread of the English vocabulary. In fact, the internet also works to preserve the slowly dying languages and dialects of the world in smaller societies. Today the use of technology or the internet represents the newest, broadest and fastest means of exchanging information all over the world. The English language is one of the important means of exchanging various information among students in the school.

Therefore, social media or electronic communication technology has revolutionized the process of composing English writing and speech. Communication technology reflects a several number of electronic communication forms. Such forms are normally associated with the internet nowadays access through both computers and mobile phones. They include e-mail, chat rooms, forums, instant messaging devices, social net- working sites, gaming networks, and Web- logs (blogs).

According to Omar and Miah (2012), more than four in ten teens (45 %) have both a computer and a cell phone. These devices enable their users to make phone calls and send text messages. The effect of this process is obvious in the daily conduct of young people and in their educational system.

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Vocabulary is such an important factor in the reading process that its instruction cannot be left out of teacher’s consideration. Technology has been found helpful in teaching vocabulary. Possibilities of multi-glossed and multi-modal presentation of vocabulary have important implications for vocabulary instruction (Chun & Plass, 1996; Gorjian, 2012; Rezaee & Shoar, 2011; Yun, 2011).

The study of vocabulary in the English language is an area of work that has received a great deal of attention over the past few decades. Sorting and systematizing vocabulary in the language according to technological inventions and contacts with other languages of the world have been done in order to identify the frequent use of such words and their formations in contemporary English, which have added to varieties of English. That English is being referred to as a global language is no doubt because of its vocabulary in various fields of learning, especially in the area of technological development.

Today, technology is the most prominent of the various fields that have left trademark on English usage among the speakers in the world through new patterns of communication that have great influence on the writings of students and other users. Technology has extended the vocabulary dimension of English and changed the ways students write, communicate and express themselves with the vocabulary.

Vocabulary development is widely recognized by learners, teachers, and researchers as a key component of learning a language. The history of technology-mediated vocabulary learning goes as far back as computer-assisted language learning itself, around the mid-twentieth century (Good-fellow, 1995). Today, vocabulary development is both mediated and shaped by digital technologies, such as the Internet, personal computers, and mobile devices (Elgort, in press).

The ever-increasing capabilities to efficiently store, process, and transfer large amounts of digital text, sound, and video data afford the creation and use of large language corpora, dynamic reference tools, text and speech analysis and synthesis software, and multimedia communication tools. Research into technology-mediated vocabulary learning offers insights into how these new technologies, combined with innovative instructional and learning approaches, affect the development of different aspects of vocabulary knowledge (VK).

However, apart from Chiu’s (2013) meta-analysis of computer-assisted second language (L2) vocabulary instruction, there have been no recent reviews of technology-mediated vocabulary development that cut across specific sub-sections of computer-assisted language learning research, such as the use of digital reference and support tools, data-driven learning, computer-mediated communication, digital gaming, multimedia-based learning, and others.

Vocabulary learning is a process of acquiring new words in second language acquisition. It is more than just understanding what the word means but is the basic factor necessary for mastering a language effectively. Alqahtani (2015) and Khan (2016) mentioned that vocabulary knowledge is regarded as an important instrument for second language students as inadequate vocabulary knowledge in a second language delays successful communication. In any language, mastering vocabulary is a significant phase to expedite learners’ successful communication in the language (Gu, 2003).

Schmitt (2000, p. 55) emphasises that “lexical knowledge is central to communicative competence and to the acquisition of a second language”. Moreover, researchers like Tozcu and Coady (2004), and Nation (2011) did not dispute the fact that enriching vocabulary is crucial for efficacious second language use as well as empowering one’s spoken and written communication. Lack of extensive vocabulary also deters the learners from using proper structures and functions needed for coherent communication (Rivers, 1981; Nunan, 1991).

Wilkins (1972) agrees that “There is not much value in being able to produce grammatical sentences if one has not got the vocabulary that is needed to convey what one wishes to say … While without grammar very little can be conveyed, without vocabulary nothing can be conveyed”. These suggest that developing lexical and communicative ability in English is fundamental to accelerate learners in recognising relevant ‘linguistic features’ and ‘trans-linguistic structures’ in their communication (Viera, 2016).

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With the world of internet and social media nowadays, students can learn language through social networking. A survey conducted by Malerba, (2011), found most of the hours consumed online were spent in social networking sites. The internet plays an enormous role in creating a prominent linguistic context and environment through its interactive two-way communication (Faizi, El Afia & Chiheb, 2013; Dhanya, 2016). For example, social media specifically Facebook, Blogs and Twitter can help students meeting other language learners. It is a great platform to share content and promote discussion with people all around the world.

Certainly, social media learning approach can enhance both social and interactive method to language learners. According to Duff (2002), socialisation empowers the language “novices” to study and acquire from those who are “experienced” especially in speech communities. Arumugam, Ismail, Selvanayagam, and Sathiyasenan (2019) advocated that social media platforms have much potential among the undergraduates in learning the English language and their use of the online platform as a pedagogical method enriches students’ learning outcomes.

In this digital era people use the social media for numerous tenacities. Particularly in the field of education, the worldwide technology and Internet revolution have changed the students’ learning styles, the list of well-known styles such as open learning, distance learning, e-learning and social media learning (Churchill, Wong, Law, Salter, & Tai, 2009). Mutum and Wang (2010) claimed that English Language learners can easily use online resources to heighten their mastery in the language. For example, online blogs and social media platforms facilitate their users to send messages or give comments regarding different issues which in turn augment their mastery in the language.

Young adults who often use innovative technologies to create instant communities of practice predominantly sites like Facebook and MySpace social networking sites have attained increasing fame (Castells, 2007). Grosseck, Bran and Tiru (2011) opined that Facebook and other social networking sites can become a reliable source of reference for academic purposes in educational settings. This study examined the influence of technology on the English vocabulary among senior secondary school students in Abakaliki Urban.


1.2             Statement of the Problem

Technology is no longer a new development in the lives of Nigerians. A great measure of technology awareness is created both within and outside institutions of learning. The indispensable role of technology in the English vocabulary among students of language especially the oral aspect is richly acknowledged but learners are yet to benefit fully from this.

The Federal Government of Nigeria is aware of the importance of technology in Education and therefore states as follows: To achieve the policy objectives of education, government shall provide appropriate information and communication facilities to ensure that the benefits of the united library permeate all levels of education in Nigeria (NPE, 2004:52) Policy makers and educators are aware of the need for the use of technology as procedural strategy in language teaching and learning but little studies have been carried out in this respect.

Students  learning English  as  a  second  language  will  need  frequent hearing,  speaking,  reading  and  writing  in  order  to improve their skills and experience (Ybarra & Green 2003). It is evident that technology improves learning pronunciations (Seferoglu, 2005), language fluency and performance (Guzel & Aydin, 2016) and skills development  (Nomass, 2013).

Therefore, in order to undertake this task, language students need to utilizing different instruments which will enable them learn the language effectively and easily. The goal is not technology itself, yet one ought to understand that technology as a continuous process needs patience, commitment and attention of all the individuals utilizing it.

Therefore, users need to appreciate and understand the pros and cons of applying technology to learning (Tafani, 2009). The role of technology in English vocabulary is so enormous that researchers now think that only the mixture of teachers and technology will lead to great learning success. There is no doubt that technology has done more than extend the vocabulary of the English language. It has also changed the way people use this new vocabulary in the language to communicate and express themselves.  

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Therefore, this study on the influence of technology on the English vocabulary among senior secondary school students in Abakaliki Urban became imperative.


Influence of Technology on the English Vocabulary among Senior Secondary School Students


1.3      Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study was to examine the influence of technology on the English vocabulary among senior secondary school students in Abakaliki Urban.

Specifically, the study seeks to:

  1. identify the peculiar vocabulary formations in English from the language of technology.


  1. identify the extent to which the words from the language of technology have influenced the essay writing performance of the senior secondary school students.

1.4      Significance of the Study

This research will be invaluable to many:

  • It will be relevant to learners and teachers of English as a second language, especially in this era of rapid technological development.
  • It will provide learners of the English language with the appropriate use of the evolving vocabulary from the development of technology.
  • It will also provide teachers with enough techniques to employ in order to meet the evolving need of youths so desperate for information and learning on internet and mobile phone technologies.
  • Curriculum developers and syllabus designers will find this work valuable by including appropriate teaching and learning activities from the language of technology to be included in curriculum and syllabus. They will also organize seminars and workshops to sensitize the English language teachers on the need to drill the students on the language of technology and the appropriate usage.
  • Finally, this study will also be valuable to other researchers in the related field.


Influence of Technology on the English Vocabulary among Senior Secondary School Students

1.5      Research Questions

The following research questions will guide the study:

  1. What are the peculiar vocabulary formations in English from the language of technology students use in essay writing?


  1. To what extent do the words from the language of technology influence the essays of senior secondary school students?


Influence of Technology on the English Vocabulary among Senior Secondary School Students


1.6       Limitation of the Study

            Some of the challenges encountered while conducting the research include lack of sufficient funds and short duration assigned for the study.

            1.7       Delimitation and Scope of the Study

This study is delimited in scope to all the senior secondary students in all the secondary schools in Abakaliki urban of Ebonyi State.


1.8       Definition of Terms

Technology: Technology is the result of accumulated knowledge and application of skills, methods, and processes used in industrial production and scientific research. In this study, technology refers to the combined use of computer hardware, software, and educational theory and practice to facilitate

English Language: English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family, originally spoken by the inhabitants of early medieval England.

English Vocabulary: A vocabulary is a set of familiar words within a person’s language. A vocabulary, usually developed with age, serves as a useful and fundamental tool for communication and acquiring knowledge. English vocabulary the body of words used in English language.

Students: A student can be defined primarily as a person enrolled in a school or other educational institution and who is under learning with goals of acquiring knowledge, developing professions and achieving employment at desired field.

Influence: The capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behaviour of someone or something, or the effect itself.

Performance: Performance is the measurement of student achievement across various academic subjects.

Senior Secondary school (also” high school”) is a term used to describe an educational institution where the final stage of schooling, known as secondary education and usually compulsory up to a specified age, takes place. It follows elementary or primary education, and may be followed by university (tertiary) education.

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