Educational Research

Educational Research (ISSN: 2141-5161) Vol. 5(9), pp. 361-367, November 2014. DOI: http:/ Copyright © 2014 International Research Journals


Full Length Research Paper

English Spelling Problems among Students at the University of Dongola, Sudan

Dr. Ahmed Ali Fadul Benyo

University Teacher, Salman Ibn Abdulaziz University, College of Science and Humanity Studies, Sulayiil, Saudi Arabia




This study investigated English spelling errors made by first year students of Dongola University, including both vowel and consonant errors. This study was based on the assumption that the first year university students have a weakness in English spelling. The researcher carried out this study to discover the factors behind these problems. Unawareness of spelling rules and sound problems might be the cause. To deal with English spelling errors, two spelling tests (pre-and post-intervention) were administrated to two hundred students in two different faculties (Arts and Education), at Dongola University. The student’s native language is Arabic, they have been studying English as the University requirement courses not specialized. Sampling procedure was taken from two different settings. A hundred first year students from the Faculty of Arts and another hundred students from the Faculty of Education. At the beginning, the pre- intervention test was given to the students in both faculties, during their first term of university without any explanations of spelling rules or English sounds. After the pre-test, the students in these faculties were taught a model spelling syllabus which was designed by the researcher for this purpose. After two months the students were given the post- intervention spelling test in their second term of university. Based on the test results, the main findings of the study were that spelling errors were noticeable in vowels, which were particularly poor. Students face difficulties with English sounds that do not exist in Arabic. Also, the study indicates that overgeneralization of spelling rules is a causative factor for the spelling errors committed. Based on an analysis of the results, it is recommended that a possible solution for the spelling problem involves teaching correct pronunciation, basic spelling rules and reminding the students of the exceptions to English spelling rules. Students should have a good grasp of these skills before reaching the secondary educational level. Thus, it is necessary to focus on spelling rules and English sounds in primary education.

Keywords: EFL, Spine (Sudan Practical Integrated National English), Series of Practical Courses in all Sudanese Schools.                                                                                                                                  

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