English Language SS1

Week 3


Structure: Countable and Uncountable Nouns

Spoken English: Diphthongs


A. Countable and Uncountable Nouns

In your junior secondary school course, you have learned that there are two types of common noun – countable and uncountable. E.g. table, dog, house are countable nouns while electricity, water, sugar are uncountable nouns. Countable and uncountable nouns behave in different ways.

They have two forms, singular and plural (student – students, girl – girls) They are used only in singular form. E.g. The milk is warm. The luggage is lost. (Milks or Luggages is wrong)
They can be preceded by a word of some kind. E.g. because the word horse is countable you cannot start a sentence with Horse, you have to start with A/AN/THE Horse They are often not preceded by any word. E.g. patience is virtue. Uncountable nouns are preceded by The when a specific instance of the noun is referred to. E.g. The patience you have shown is commendable
They can be preceded by a or an (a student, an aunt) They are often not preceded by any a or an. (Thus a bread or an information is wrong)

Types of uncountable nouns

Diseases/Illnesses: malaria, typhoid, AIDS

Sports: football, basketball, badminton

Moral qualities: patience, greed, envy

Subjects of study: history, biology, law

Other abstractions: education, citizenship

B. Diphthongs

A diphthong is a  combination of two vowel sounds, one after the other. There is movement or “glide” between the two parts of the sound. For example, to say the /eɪ/ diphthong, like in the word “cake” (/keɪk/) first say /e/, then say /ɪ/ without stopping. Your mouth will move from the /e/ shape to the /ɪ/ shape. This is the “glide”.

Diphthongs of English

/ɪə/ as in beer

/eɪ/ as in same

/ʊə/ as in tour

/ɔɪ/ as in coin, boy

/əʊ/ as in nose

/eə/ as in hair

/aɪ/ as in fly

/aʊ/ as in mouse

C. Comprehension

A Successful Farming Family

I shall always remember my old friend, Tanko. Tanko’s father, Alhaji Ibrahim Nuhu was the District Head of Yandaka District in Katsina. Tanko was the eldest of three sons and he and his brothers all worked on Alhaji’s farm.
The Alhaji had six hectares of manured farmland near the village. On this farm he grew groundnuts, cowpeas, cassava and early millet. In addition, he had a bush farm of about five hectares, about three kilometres from the village. On this farm, he grew late millet, more groundnuts, cowpeas and guinea corn. Every year, the Alhaji paid some Cattle Fulani to bring their cattle to the bush farm to manure it.
Tanko worked hard on his father’s farm, and when he was about twenty-four years old, his parents helped him to marry. His new wife came and joined him on his father’s compound, and Tanko continued to work hard. He helped to cultivate his father’s land; he was very good with the ox plough. During the dry season he worked hard as a labourer, and also began to sell groundnuts. So when his first child was born, his parents did not have to pay all the naming ceremony expenses: he paid for some of these himself.
Tanko also found out that he could make more money by selling boiled cassava in the nearby market. After a time, he and his family moved to another house in the village. His father lent him some money to help. Tanko’s wife began to trade from the new house, selling roasted groundnuts and groundnut oil, different kinds of cake and tuwo. Tanko too became a well known trader in grains, groundnuts and cowpeas. He usually bought these at harvest time and stored them for some months before selling.
On the death of Alhaji, about three years ago, Tanko and his brothers each inherited some of the Alhaji’s land. But by then Tanko was rich enough to buy his own farmland.
Last year, I went to visit Tanko in his village. ‘Tell me, what are the reasons why you are so successful?’ I asked.
‘All things are possible by the will of Allah,’and a good wife also help!’
Choose the best answers for each of the following questions
1. Alhaji Ibrahim Nuhu had
a) Four sons
b) three sons
c) four brothers
d) two wives
e) three brothers
2. The Alhaji owned
a) six hectares of land
b) eleven hectares of land
c) fourteen hectares of land
d) nineteen hectares of land
e) nine hectares
3. How did Tanko manage to pay some of the naming ceremony expenses?
a) his father paid for them
b) his wife’s family paid for them
c) he paid with money that he earned
d) his parents paid for him
e) he paid with the money made by his wife
4. Later on, Tanko became a successful ……..
a) farmer
b) farmer and trader
c) food merchant
d) trader and food merchant
e) business man
D. Vocabulary Development
A REGISTER is a group of words that refer to one aspect of life or human experience. For example, we have the register of the house and home and the register of air transport. In pairs, make a list of all farming words you can see in the reading passage.
E.g. Farmland, laborer, manure, grains e.t.c
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