A STUDY ON THE STUDENTS’ DIFFICULTIES
IN USING REQUEST AND QUESTION SENTENCES
OF THE SECOND GRADE STUDENTS OF SMA MUHAMMADIYAH MATARAM
IN ACADEMIC YEAR 2009 / 2010
1.1 Background of The Study
Language is a means of communication. One of the languages which are used widely in the world is English. Many people say that English is one of the international languages. In facing modern area and free trade, we are demanded to be able to speak and to communicate in English. It means that English plays an important role in international communication.
Indonesia as a developing country realizes the importance of English. It is signed by participated in and placed the English on the curriculum started from the secondary school up to the university or institute.
The main goal of the teaching English is to make the students master it soon. But in the fact, they failed and even found many handicaps in learning processes, even though they have studied English for a long time. They are still facing some problems in grammar, phonology, spelling vocabulary, listening and speaking. It seems that the grammar is more difficult than the other aspects.
In teaching English as a foreign language in Indonesia, there is tendency for a teacher to teach more structure than elements and skills, but the result is still unsatisfactory. This indicates that the structure causes a serious problem in English teaching and learning process.
Structure is very essential to master a certain language especially English because it is a fundamental aspects. As we know together meaning is expressed in vocabulary and relationship expressed is in grammar.
There are two structural aspects that often cause problem to the students, they are request and question sentences. These aspects are difficult, because there are some elements of the sentences involved mainly modal, pronoun, verb and adverb and so on.
These things must be mastered well by the students if they want to structure the sentences, otherwise they will find handicaps in understanding and using it. The mistake they make, of course will annoy and distract the flow of the communication. They can cause misunderstanding on the parts of the listeners or the readers who receive the information that we communicate.
Based on the phenomena above, the writer would conduct a research on: “A Study on The Students’ Difficulties in Using Request and Question Sentences of The First Grade Students of SMA Muhammadiah Mataram in academic year 2009/2010”.
1.2 Research Questions
Related to the statement described above, the writer formulated two research questions as follows:
1. What are the students’ difficulties in using requests and questions sentences?
What factors contribute to the difficulties of using questions and requests by the first grade students of SMA Muhammadiah Mataram in academic year 2009/2010”.
1.3 Objectives of The Study
The objectives of the study are:
1. To find out the students’ difficulties in using request and question sentences.
2. To find out the factors that may contribute to the students’ difficulties in using request and question sentences.
1.4 Significance of The Study
The writer categorizes the significance of this analysis into two categories based on what Aminuddin Categorizes (1987: 60):
1. General Significant:
By understanding requests and questions sentences, it can improve our knowledge in English about sentences so that we can avoid misunderstanding in communication.
2. Specific Significant:
1. It is expected to help the students to develop their knowledge.
2. It is expected to the English teachers to improve their teaching on both requests and questions.
1.5 Scope of The Study
Scopes of the study are:
1. The students’ ability in using question such as WH-question.
2. The students’ ability in using request in imperative sentence + please.
1.6 Definition of Key Terms
To get a clear concept of the terms which are used on the title, the writer presented them briefly in the following:
1. Ability is a general word of mental power, native or acquire, enabling one to do something well.
2. Request is (1) asking (person or an organization) to do something;(2) asking for permission or opportunity to do something; expressing a wish or desire to do something; (3) asking (someone) to come or go to somewhere, (Webster, 1980: 1538).
The request and question which is meant by the writer in this writing is about:
1. WH-questions which ask for information
a. What is your name?
b. Why do you come late?
2. Request which is imperative sentence + please
a. Sit down, please.
b. Could you take me that book, please?
REVIEW OF THE RELATED LITERATURE
Grammatical structure is the pattern of the arrangement of parts of the words into the sentence (Lado, 1990: 142). The structure means the pattern and the rule of English sentence. The students should master sentence structure in order to build their communication. To help make our meaning in conversations; we can use gesture, tone of voice and facial expression.
In this chapter, the writer would explain what is question, the type of the question, how to form WH-questions, what is the request, the types of request and some differences between question and request sentences.
2.1 What is The Question?
In general, the senior high school students have already studied the question for many years. Directly, their thinking on that a question is an interrogative sentence marked by one or more these three criteria:
1. The placing of the operator (auxiliary verb) in front of the subject: e.g. Will Peter speak to the boss today?
2. The initial positioning of an interrogative or WH-question element: e.g.:Don’t you speak to the boss today?
2.2 Type of The Question
Most of the English grammar books in which written either English or Indonesia described that the question can be divided into two major classes according to the type of answer that they expect.
Based on the statement above, we could define that the question into the two types:
1. A Yes/No Question
A yes/no question is a question that may be answered by ‘yes or no’. These questions always begin with auxiliary verb.
a. Does she go to school?
Answer : Yes, she does / No, she does.
b. Are there enough chairs for us?
Answer : Yes, there are / No, there aren’t.
Questions above are called ‘yes/no’ questions because the answer, which is may be expressed or just implied ‘yes’ or ’no’. In turning a statement into ‘yes’ or ’no’ question, the operator (do, does, are, etc) is put before the subject.
2. An Information Question
An information question is a question that asks for information by using a question words: where, when, why, which, whom and how.
a. Where Anna live now?
Answer: Anna lives in California.
b. How old are you?
Answer: I am 23 years old.
c. When will they come?
Answer: They will come on Friday.
Questions above are called ‘WH-question’ because in English they almost always begin with one of the ‘WH-word like: what, who, whom, where, when, whose, which or how’. (Philip S. and Dale, 1976).
2.3 How To Form WH-questions
WH-question is formed with the aid of one of the following simple interrogative words (Q-words):
As a rule, (Randolph Quirk, at al., 1972: 394)
1. The Q-element (i.e. clause element containing the Q-Word) comes first in the sentence (apart from some conjunct).
2. The Q-word itself, moreover takes first position in the Q-element.
e.g.: What did you see base your prediction?
WH-questions ask for the specific information. They are called WH-questions, because in English, they always begin with one of the WH-words: what, where, when, why, who, and how.
1. What is she doing?
2. Where does he live?
Furthermore, we try to clarify one by one of the following question words with its more examples and the answer it.
1. In the most cases indicates that the ‘WH-question’ (Q-word) should be followed by one of the auxiliary verb.
2. What? ‘What’ is a general interrogative used for things. (Thomson and Martinet, 1986: 72).
2.1 If what used as the subject of a question, it refers to ‘things’.
a. What made you angry? + His rudeness.
b. What went wrong? + Everything.
2.2 ‘What’ is also used as an object.
a. What do you need? + I need a pencil.
2.3 ‘What kind of’ asks about the particular variety or type of something.
a. What kind of soup is that? + It is bean soup.
2.4 ‘What + a form of do’ is used to ask questions about activities.
a. What did you do last night? + I studied English last night.
2.5 ‘What’ may accompany a noun.
a. What countries did you visit? + I visited Italy and Spain.
3.1 ‘Who’ is used as the subject of a question. It refers to people.
a. Who can answer that question? + I can answer that question.
b. Who came to visit you? + Jane and Eric came to visit me.
3.2 ‘Who’ is usually followed by a singular verb even if the speaker is asking about more than one person.
a. Who is coming to dinner tonight? + Ann, Bob and John are coming to dinner tonight.
‘When’ is used to ask questions about time.
- When did they arrive? + They arrived yesterday.
‘Where’ is used to ask questions about place.
a. Where is she? + She is at home.
‘Why’ is used to asks question about reason.
a. Why did he leave early? + He leaves early because he is ill..
2.7 ‘How’ generally ask about manner.
a. How did you come to school? + I come to school by bus.
2.8 ‘How’ is used with ‘much + countable’ and ‘many + uncountable nouns’
a. How much sugar do you need? + I need two kilograms.
10.2 ‘How’ is also used with adjectives and adverbs.
a. How old are you? + I am 23 years old.
b. How long is your ruler? + My ruler is thirsty.
c. How quickly can you get there? + I can get there in 30 minutes.
d. How well does she speak English? + She speaks very well.
2.8‘How long’ asks about length of time
a. How long has he been here? + He has been here 2 years.
2.9 ‘How often’ asks about frequency
a. How often do you visit your family? + I visit my family every week.
2.10 ‘How far’ asks about distance.
a. How far is it to hospital from here? + It is 100 kilometers from here.
2.4 What is Request?
Request is (1) asking (as a person or an organization) to do something; (2) asking for permission or opportunity to do something; expressing a wish or desire to do something; (3) asking (a person) to come or go to something or some place (Webster, 1996-1929). Guth defines that request is asking others to do something. (1978: 102). Simatupang and Ariyanto (1988: 175) state: “To state a request in English can be used imperative form, imperative form can be taken from present tense for the second personal pronoun”.
Imperative can also be used to make a polite request when the word please is added. Formulas of politeness such as please, will (or would) you please often accompany request.
1. Formulas of politeness before the verb
a. Please open the window.
b. Will / would you (please) open the window.
2. Formulas of politeness at the end of the sentence
a. Give me that book, please.
b. Give me that book, will / would you (please).
3. Formulas of politeness split between the beginning and the end of the sentence
a. Please turn on the light, can / could you.
b. Can / could you turn on the light, please.
Request include asking for something, information, permission and asking for a favor.
1. Asking for something
a. May I have a glass of water, please? – Here you are
b. Could you spare a moment? – Any time.
2. Asking for information
a. Excuse me, could you tell me how far the post-office is? – Sure. It’s two block away from here
3. Asking for permission
1. Is it all right (ok)
a. Is at all right for me to go now? – Sure, if you must be off now.
2. Do you mind?
‘Do you mind?’ is used for any occasion, e.g.:
a. Do you mind, if I use the bathroom? – Not at all. I’ll show the way.
4. ing for a favor
a. Could you spare me a moment?
2.5 Types of Request
Before we discuss the types of request, it is useful to know first about the definition of speech act. Speech act is the verbal behavior used to convey the missing that makes up each phrase of the conversation. (Reardon, 1985: 265) defined that the speech is an utterance as a functional unit in a communication. There are many kinds of speech acts, such as request, orders, assertions, complete and question.
In speech act theory, utterances have two kinds of meaning:
1. prepositional meaning (known as non-elocutionary meaning)
This is the basic literary meaning of the utterance, which it conveyed by the particular words and structures, which the utterances contain.
2. Elocutionary meaning (known as a elocutionary farce)
This is the effect of the utterance or written text has on the listener on the reader.
By referring to this theory we can say that the request consists of two types, namely prepositional meaning and elocutionary meaning.
3.1 Method of The Research
The writer used descriptive method in this research. This method aimed to find out the students’ difficulties in using request and question sentences and the factors that may contribute to the students’ difficulties in using request and question sentences.
3.2 Population and Sample
Population according to Hadi (1988: 220) is the number of people or individual that has at least the same characteristic.
Based on the opinion above it could be concluded that “a population is all individuals that are prepared as research subject”. The population of this research was all of the first grade students of SMA Muhammadiah Mataram in academic year 2009/2010 .Total of the population was 140 students.
According to Arikunto (2006: 134): “If the population less than a hundred, it must be taken all as sample. It is categorized as population research. However, if the population is a hundred or more, it should be taken 10-15% or 20-25% from all of the population”.
Based on the opinion above, the writer would take 20 % of the population in this research. It means that from 50 students, the writer would take 10 students as the sample of this research.
The sampling technique used in this research was a sample random sampling. A sample random sampling is a technique to get a number of sample and it’s doing directly to the unit of sampling. It means that each unit of sampling as population element which remote gets same chance to be a sample or to represent population. The writer would take the sample in an ordinal manner. All of the subjects were give the number than the number were chosen randomly and who gets a number of multiple five was taken as a sample.
The first grade students of SMA Muhammadiah Mataram in academic year 2009/2010.
consist of 1 classes. From that population, 10 students were taken to be investigated in this research.
3.3 Instrument of the Research
In this research, the writer used two instruments, they were questionnaire and multiple choice.
The writer used check list questionnaire, the students only gives a check sign to the fit column in the check list questions. This test is applied to find out the students’ difficulties in using request and question sentences.
2. Objective test
In objective test, the writer used multiple choice and test. The objective tests are applied to find out the factors that may contribute to the students’ difficulties in using request and question sentences.
3.4 Procedures of Data Collection
The data needed in this study were collected through questionnaire and objective tests.
In questionnaire, the writer give some free question which are related with request and question sentences in which they are only gives a check sign to the fit column in the check list question.
In multiple choices, the writer gave 10 questions in which they are asked to choose the correct answer.
In test, the writer gave each student 10 questions for request and 10 questions for question in which they are asked to determine the sentences that belong to question or request.
3.5 Technique of Data Analysis
In analyzing the data, the writer classified the data as the quantitative form. It means the writer tabulated the data through the check list questionnaire and multiple choices test to find out the students’ scores on the difficulties in using request and question sentences. The writer applied the following classifications:
10 is classifications as excellent
8 – 9 is classifications as very good
6 – 7 is classifications as satisfactory
4 – 5 is classifications as fairly satisfactory
3 – 4 is classifications as fairly English
1 – 2 is classifications as poor English
A. J. Thomson and A. V. Martinet. A Practical English Grammar. Oxford University, 1986.
Arikunto, Suharsimi. Prosedur Penelitian: Suatu Pendekatan Praktek (edisi revisi VI). Jakarta: PT. Rineka Cipta, 2006.
Azar, Betty Schrampfer. Understanding and Using Grammar: Second Edition. New Jersey: Prentice Hall Regents, 1989.
Frank, Marcela. Modern English: A Practical Reference Guid. New Jersey: Prentice – Hall, 1989.
Guth, Hans P. American English Today: Third Edition. New York: Mc Graw Hill, Book Company, 1978.
Hadi, Sutrisno. Pengantar Penelitian Ilmiah. Bandung: Tarsito, 1988.
Reardon. K. Interpersonal communication: Where Minds Meet. California: Wadsworth, Inc., 1987.
Lado. Language Testing. Longman Group, Ltd., 1990.
Philips, S. Dale. Language Development Structure and Functions. Copy Right by Halt, 1976.
Quirk, Randolph. A Grammar of Contemporary English. Longman Group Limited, 1972.
Ralph. The Sentences and It’s Parts. Chicago The University, 1974.
Samekto, Cecilia G, Popular Idioms for Everyday Occasions. Yogyakarta: PT Kanisius, 1991.
Simatupang M. and A. Ariyanto. Bahasa Inggris Ia : Untuk SMA. Jakarta: Balai Pustaka – Depdikbud, 1990.
Webster, A. Merriam. Webster’s Third New International Dictionary of The English Language
. USA: Merriam Company, 1996.