The effects of sheng on the acquisition of speaking and writing skills of english language. A case study of a secondary school in Kenya

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Mary Oluga

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Jane Rarieya


AKU-East Africa


Sheng as a language of the youth is an indication of societal growth and group identity; on the other hand, for educators and scholars, they are of the opinion that its spread has negative effects on the students in Kenyan schools. Since Sheng is dominantly spoken by the youth, it influences the acquisition of other languages. The purpose of the study was to gain an understanding of the effects of Sheng on the acquisition of speaking and writing skills of English in Machakos County.

Secondary School students were the target of the study, they are the speakers mostly affected by the use of Sheng in learning. A sequential explanatory mixed design which entailed the use of both the quantitative and qualitative data was used. The quantitative data was collected through a survey whereas for the qualitative data, interviews, focus group discussion, document analysis and observations were used as methods of data collection. The approach enabled identification of the specific characteristics that Sheng exhibit that affect the acquisition of speaking and writing skills of English.

The findings revealed that Sheng affects the speaking and writing skills of English. This ranges from the position of Sheng as a youth language, the effect on the sentence structure, word formation processes, choice and use of vocabulary, creativity, clarity of concepts and spelling. Teachers view Sheng as a threat to the English language and the major challenges they face in curbing its use includes: its effect on English as a subject leading to poor performance and lack of a proper language policy in public schools. However, students use this code in their daily communication; at school, on the streets and at home and this has affected their use of Standard English. The study recommends specific researches to be carried out on the language situation in Kenya especially the spread of Sheng and its effects on education.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library