Presented To

Department of English and Linguistics


This study examined an investigation of special language needs analysis of workplaces in Lagos State.  The descriptive survey design was used to carry out the study. The population of study comprised of all the workers in all the selected industries located within Oshodi and Agege Local Government Area of Lagos State.  The sample of study consisted of one-hundred and twenty (120) workers from five (5) industries located within Oshodi-Isolo Local Government Area of Lagos State.  The study adopted the use of questionnaire as the instrument for data collection. The data collected were analysed using the frequency counts and simple percentage to complete the demographic data of the participants and to answer the research questions while all the research hypotheses were tested using the chi-square (x2) method at 0.05 level of significance. The findings of the study revealed that the special language needs of Lagos State workers are on English language communication skills (listening, speaking, reading, writing). Writing and speaking skills have been found as the most special language skills needed in the Lagos  State workplaces. And that workers from Afriprint are mostly in need of training in these special language skills among others. Based on the findings of the study, the following recommendations were made by the researcher. There is need for industries to organize periodical in-service training especially in terms of their workers communication skills. Since English language is the official language in Nigeria and the major medium of communication in the midst of a multilingual population, English proficiency of workers need to be facilitated by organizing seminars and workshops aimed at enhancing workers English language skills.It is also important to conduct periodical assessment on the workers special language skills in order to ascertain the particular area of weakness and design the remedial programmes to assist the workers among others.




There is urgent need for every industry to begin to take precautionary steps towards developing the proficiency level of their employees for maximum productivity There is a strong apprehension that the current global employability will be only for graduates who are proficient in the language needed for the job particularly in countries like Mexico, Angola,, Nigeria among others For an establishment to continue to make productive impact on its immediate environment, there must be adequate communication skill among the workers in the workplace 

Communication is an indispensable activity in the workplace Within industrialized nations like Nigeria; the expectation of fluency in speech is omnipresent Understanding the interaction dynamics of the workplace is vital to a successful business enterprise  No rapid progress can be made in the absence of effective communicative skill  The success of any form of establishment is hinged on proper communication skill and the right choice of words in delivering duties in the workplace

Language is defined according to Maduekwe (2007) as the most sophisticated communication tool of life and a vehicle for communication in the workplace   Special language use in the workplace refers to situations where a worker needs language to perform all or part of his occupational duties English, which is the official language inNigeria can never be overemphasized Language of business, education, technology, judiciary, job interview, communication etc Today, millions of Nigerians speak in English language

This English language isdeveloped in England and now used throughout the British commonwealth of nations, in the United States of America and in other parts of the world

The first attempt is to establish the use of the English Language in Nigeria dates back to 19th century when industrial revolution started in Europe and there was quests for raw materials and market for the finished goods produced in these industries  The British and Portuguese merchants invaded the West African Coast to trade with Nigeria businessmen and since business transaction cannot be thrive in the absence of a common Language, a Language of communication (English) gradually emerged as a medium of transaction

Much later, some shrewd Nigerian Businessmen in Calabar sent their children to England to learn English while some others had their children taught English to enable them establish a strong trade link with the Europeans (Njoku and Izuagba, 2014)

Importance of communication in the workplace is enormous Within industrialized nations like Nigeria; the expectation of fluency in speech is omnipresent Understanding the interaction dynamics of the workplace is vital to a successful business enterprise According to Nwachukwu (2008), the most common means by which human beings communicate with one another is language Language is used to create, reinforce and maintain social structures at and beyond workplace Any workplace where the line of communication is free and open, there are development and any misunderstanding is easily settled But where the line of communication is clogged, there are bounds to be prejudice, bias and suspicion,business is static and progress is hampered

It is expected that every worker in Nigeria should at least be literate in English language especially in Lagos state where companies are always in the increase having workers of diverse backgrounds Instead,what is being experienced is the continued growth of limited English proficient workers that make up the entire workforce The statistics of the department of Labour (2004) and the census Bureau (2006) indicate that, the need for school drop-out workers will continue to rise and that by the year 2020, 43%(247 million)of all prospective job openings will be for people with minimum education level of which many have limited English proficiency

To investigate the effectiveness of the interaction between employers and pre-dominantly monolingual at the workplace, a needs analysis research must be conducted Needs are not things to be determined by a pre-constructed checklist or by mere looks It is determined by the process of analysis Needs are wants, desires and goals It represents the gap between what the learner wants to get out of his working experience and his current state of knowledge, skill and enthusiasm (Noessel,2003) This need could be language needs, financial needs, intellectual needs, psychological needs or two put together To determine this need, a researcher has to conduct a research to identify a particular need through the process of needs analysis

Needs analysis is known to be the primary component of ENGLISH FOR SPECIFIG PURPOSES (ESP) It is the systematic collection and analysis of all subjective information necessary to define and validate defensible curriculum purposes that satisfy the language learning requirement of workers within the context of a particular workplace that influences work effectiveness(Brown,1995)Needs analysis is the core of every successful ESP program It determines the need for which a worker requires a language and arranging the needs according to priorities It involves fact finding and data collection

Needs analysis was first emerged in language teaching in the 1960sIt was closely associated with English for specific purpose (Brindley,1989) The importance of language needs analysis in the workplace lies in the fact that the outcome should be a list of goals and objectives of the worker’s need for language which serves as the basis for developing test, materials, teaching activities, and evaluation strategies etc

It is a well-known fact that, the process of a standard needs analysis is said to be the most important step to course development, material design as well as in determining vocational, workplace language and communication needs of workers

English for specific purposes(ESP) on the other hand is an approach to the teaching of English as a second language(ESL) that focuses on determining the linguistics needs of a specific group of learners and then design course to satisfy the needs in the most efficient manner Because ESP addresses a specific group of learners, with similar characteristics, its course design usually focuses on the topics and language of a specific discipline, occupation or activity(Strevens,1988;in Dudley-Evens and stJohn,1998)

The need for ESP arose from General English As the name implies, general English is the English we study in school for general use

However, the emergence of ESP was not a planned and coherent movement, but rather a phenomenon, which grew out of a number of converging trends;

First, the demand of a new world created after the Second World War in 1945 which later dominated by technology and commerce As a result, there was demand for an international language for business promotion and the demand fell on English language This promoted English language to the international standard Prior to this development, English language was regarded as a sign of well-rounded education And was no longer learnt for pleasure or prestige but created a new generation of learners especially businessmen and women who wanted to sell their products, mechanics who had to read instruction manuals and doctors who needed to keep up the development in their field as well as students whose courses and texts are available in English

Second, the oil rise of the early 1970s(oil exploration) According to Huchinson and Walters(1987), English suddenly become a big business and the constraint of time and money led to the need for creation of cost effective courses with clearly defined goals

Third, was as a result of new ideas in the study of linguistics Instead of the formal traditional ways of describing the formal features of the language, the new studies shifted attention to discovering the ways in which language is actually used in real communication(Widdowson,1978)There become an important difference between the language of a particular field of study which led to the argument by  Linguist saying that, if language differs from one situation to another, it is then possible to determine the features of specific situations and then make those features the basis of learners’ course The notion that, English needed by a particular group of learners could be identified by analyzing the linguistics characteristics of their specialized areas of work or study then gained ground

  “The guiding principle became; tell me what you need English for and I will tell you the English that you need”(Huchinson and Walters,1987)

Forth, was the new development in educational psychology which emphasized the central importance of learners and their attitude of learning(Rogers,1969)Learners were seen to have needs and interest which would have an important influence on their motivation to learn and therefore, on the effectiveness of their learning This led to the creation of learner-centered curriculum design

It is worthy of note that, the first conference on ESP was convened in the year 1969 (Mackey, 1976) when its original name was changed from the term “Language for special purposes” to its present name “English for specific purposes” due to the notion that, attention for this course is not only on the learners but also on the language resources of the learners like; English for law, English for medicine, English for engineering, English for business etc

Furthermore, ESP is divided into two broad areas according to Kennedy and Bolitho (1984) namely; English for Occupational Purposes (EOP) and English for Academic Purposes (EAP) EOP is taught in situations where learners need English for work while EAP is taught generally within educational institutions to students using English in their studies

EOP is divided into two; English for professional purposes(medicine, law, business, etc) and vocational purposes(priest, mechanics, artisans, etc) and is further divided into pre-vocational and vocational EnglishPre-vocational English is concerned with finding a job and interview skills while vocational English is concerned with language of specific trades or occupation

It is pertinent at this point to state that this research work is to investigate the special language needs of workplaces in Lagos State


Commutation is an indispensable activity in the workplace The most common means  by which human  beings communicate with one another is language Workers’ ability to

Communicate with their employers and acquire sufficient language skills to function in the workplace are two of the key points to their success and the success of the business as well

In recent years, language-related problems at workplaces have been at the center of controversy surrounding workforce The statistics of the department of Labour (2004)

Bureau (2006) indicate that, the need for flawed English workers will continue to rise and that by the year 2020, 43% (247 million) of all prospective job ‘openings will be for people with effective communication skills of which many graduates have limited English proficiency wwwcambridgeenglishor/roly-cambridge-english found that; in every industry, there is a gap between the English language skills required at work and the English skills that employees have

Moreso, an analysis of speech error on[ English for occupational purposes (EOP) at the International Islamic university Malaysia (IIUM), (2014) examine that, workers  make wrong use of grammatical words frequently eg wrong use of nouns, use of uncountable nouns, nouns use as verbs, wrong use of preposition in phrase, wrong addition of preposition,  wrong  use of verbs, wrong use of phrasal verbs, wrong of adjective ending in “ ed and “ ing and redundant expression   It was concluded that preposition was the most frequent type of grammatical error made by the learners In addition, intra lingua transfer was found to be the most prominent source of error It has also be found in a study conducted by Nita Falizee Selamant on EOP students (2014) that, the difficulty in communication among workers is actually the low English proficiency and the most difficult communication task is public speaking Word Applied Science Journal (2015) indicates that Lagos employers have considerable reservations when it comes to graduates’ employability skill, particularly their flawed English Language competence Given the challenges faced by scarcity of work in Lagos to match employers’ requirements

Therefore there is need for a deeper understanding of how language in the changing workplace is related to the operations of companies in Lagos State


The purpose of this study   is to investigate the special  language proficiency level of Lagos State workers Specifically, the study is designed to:

1         Identify the level of English proficiency of Lagos Workers

2         Determine the particular language problems workers are experiencing  in Lagos State

3         Determine the nature of language skills a worker needs order to perform well in the workplace

4         Determine which workers from a particular workplace are most in need of training in a particular language skill

5         Determine if an existing ESP course designed adequately addresses the language needs of a potential worker


This study aims at the following research questions;

1         What is the level of English proficiency of  a worker in relation to the work tasks assigned to him?

2         What are the particular language problems workers are experiencing in Lagos State?

3         What are the nature of language skills a worker needs in order to perform well in the work place?

4         What type of ESP training course design adequately addresses the language needs of a potential worker?

5         Which workers from a particular workplace are most in need of training in a particular language skill?


1         The level of English proficiency of a worker does not have significant effect on task assigned to him

2         The existing ESP course design does not significantly address the language need of potential workers

3         Workers do not have a significant need of training in a particular language skill


The importance of language in our workplaces can never be over emphasized knowing that English language is a  must for workplace communication especially in Lagos State that is populated largely by people of diverse ethnic groups   However,  interpersonal communication skill is the key to every successful business venture and the ability of a worker to speak  fluently is advantageous towards the development and progression   of the work

This study will be useful to the following:

Workers: It will benefit workers who need to improve on their language skills both and outside the workplace knowing that English is essential for work and survival society It will improve work efficiency and enhances worker’s self-esteem and ns instrumentally and intrinsically motivated to learn more there will be no more hesitation in complaining of any observation, or giving instructions to junior workers, taking part in decision making etc also instructional manuals will be easily interpreted since an operator can comprehend the instruction Hence, mistakes are avoided and stress is reduced  

Moreso, the learner will meet EOP needs like reading and writing work related faxes and emails using information sources, communicating with foreigners about work1writing work related reports using tactful language with people especially customers, and understanding basic principles in work correspondences Moreover, since English has become a necessary tool for job employment, EOP learners stand the opportunity to obtain a lucrative job, get promoted and perform  effectively in the working world

Curriculist: as suggested by many studies in the literature of this study, Dudley-Evans and St John (1998 60) assert that analysis of workers’ special language needs is a crucial step towards designing the curriculum, since it determines all course components Also, it will help them to plan and improve Nigerian education by conducting the educational  which the skills and competency gaps of EOP learners in Nigeria educational sector before drawing recommendation on how will be resolved As such, the outcome workers’ needs which serve as the basis for evaluation strategiesetc

Moreso, it will equip the curriculist with the knowledge of guidelines to be followed in  planning programmes for EOP learners such as;

Knowledge on the part of employees, on the communicative function of EOP’

Understanding on behalf of employees of the expectations of those who need English in order to carry out a job

Knowledge, on the part of the employees, the theory and practice of EO

Moreover, sensitizes the curriculist that one of the most important characteristics of EOP is material writing and communicative competence which could intrinsically interesting since they focus mainly on course design approach idea and course objectives Perhaps, subscribe to the idea that an effective syllabus must attempt to overcome the deficiencies of the workers’ commutative competence under which they are operating (Brian 1998)

The Teacher/EOP Tutors

Dudley Evans and St John (199895) state that the teaching process of any kind of language for occupational purposes should take as a starting point the analysis of the four traditional skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) within an appropriate context, that being, as far as possible, the conditions in the workplace The study will help the LOP tutors or teachers to take cognizance of the above assertion Nevertheless, sensitizes them that the most important argument regarding selective learning is that adults need to obtain information they can apply outside the academic world It will help them in the selection of authentic materials, contents and activities relevant to the LOP learners The Study will also create job opportunities, investment opportunities and natural education growth to the EOP teachers by the government/foreigners (tourists or experts) eg

Chinese, Arabians, Indians, Portugese etc when seeking their services in nation building

The Researcher

The study will aid the researcher to the understanding of the basic phenomenon on the second language needs of workers in the workplace It will give the researcher the knowledge on how to best address the world’s problem Also Researchers had data in which they can base their discussions for policy making

The Stakeholders

The Study will provide an insight to parents and guardians on the type of language skills their ward need when face with language related problems in workplace Finally, it will be of benefit to all the stakeholders such as policy makers, managers of businesses, government, education educators etc on their perception of EOP programmes for improvement and development of workforce in the larger society Therefore, to cope with the advanced worlcl4one must increase his/her level of English proficiency


This study will look at the following theories:

1 Theories of motivation

2 Theory of communicative competence


Psychologists have studied human motivation extensively and have derived a variety of theories about what motivates people This section briefly highlights the motivational theories that are regularly discussed in language Learning These include theories that focus on motivation being a function of (1) employed5needs of various types, (2) extrinsic factors, and (3) intrinsic factors Each set of theories will be discussed below

Needs-Based Theories of Motivation

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need“Maslow (1954) postulated a hierarchy of needs that progress from the lowest, subsistence- level needs to the highest level of self-awareness and actualization once each level has been met The theory explains how an individual will be motivated and strive to progress to satisfy’ the next higher level of need The five levels in Maslow’s hierarchy are

·        physiological needs“including food, water, sexual drive, and other subsistence- related needs

·        Safety needs“including shelter, a safe home safe work environment, employment, a healthy and safe worker environment access to health care, money, and other basic necessities

·        Belonging needs including the desire for social contact and interaction, friendship, affection and various types of support

·        , Esteem needs“including status, recognition, and positive regard; and,

·        Self-actualization needs“including the desire for achievement, Personal growth, development, and autonomy

The movement from one level to the next was termed satisfaction progression by Maslow, and it was assumed that over time individuals were motivated to continually progresses upward through these levels ‘While useful from a theoretical perspective, most individuals do not view their needs in this way, making this approach to motivation a bit unrealistic

Alderfer’s ERG Theory“the three components identified by Alderfer (1972) drew upon

Maslow’s theory, but also suggested that workers were motivated to move forward and

backward through the levels in terms of motivators He reduced Maslow’s levels from

Five to the following three:

·        Existence“which related to Maslow’s first two needs, thus combining the physiological and safety needs into one level;

·        Relatedness“which addressed the belonging needs; and,

·        Growth“which pertains to the last two needs, thereby combining esteem and self- actualization

Alderfer also added his frustration-regression principle, which postulated that individuals would move in and out of the various levels, depending upon the extent to which their needs were being met This approach is deemed by students of management to be more logical and similar to many individuals’ world views

Herzberg’s Two Factor Theory“Herzberg (2003) further modified Maslow’s needs theory and consolidated down to two areas of needs that motivate employees These were termed;

·        Hygiene’s“these were characterized as lower level motivators and included, for example, “company policy and administration, Supervision, interpersonal relationships, working conditions, salary, status, and security

·        Motivators“these emphasized higher level factors and focused on aspects of work, such as achievement, recognition for achievement ,the work itself, responsibility and growth or advancement”

Herzberg’s is an easily understood approach that suggests that individuals have desires beyond the Hygiene’s and that motivators are very important to them

McClelland’s acquired Needs Theory“ the idea here is that needs are acquired throughout life That is, needs are not innate, but are learned or developed as a result of one’s life experiences (McClelland, 1985)This theory focuses on three types of needs:

·        Need for achievement“ which emphasizes the desires for success, for mastering tasks, and for attaining goals;


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