Linguistic Competence of Using English Tenses by Tertiary Level Students in Sri Lanka Special Focus on the Undergraduates at Uva Wellassa University

J. M. P. V. K. Jayasundara


Currently, English reigns supreme in all aspects of the societies in most of thecountries worldwide. In Sri Lanka also English has now become the most extensivelylearnt second language as a result of global influence. The present study intends toexplore the linguistic competence of using English tenses by undergraduates in thewriting and speaking performances in their academic environment. Hence, the study hasfocused on the performance of 100 undergraduates who are currently followingdifferent Degree Programmes at Uva Wellassa University. Consequently, writtenassignments and oral tests have been used as research instruments in order to investigatethe linguistic competence of using English tenses in their academic environment. Inaddition to that, the statistical software, „Minitab 14‟ was manipulated for analyticalpurposes. However, the findings of the research revealed that most of theundergraduates are in need of more competence in using English tenses, especially inthe Simple Present Tense as they frequently commit errors in the use of 3rd personsingular form. Further, students lack the ability to use passive forms correctly. Besides,selecting the proper tense has become another major difficulty that they face in theiracademic performances in both writing and speaking. Therefore, the study attempts toenlighten English teachers islandwide about the fields where undergraduates havedifficulties in using English as a second language while emphasizing the requirement ofmaking students better equipped with the knowledge of English. Accordingly, thefindings are significant in developing innovative approaches to teach English, especiallyin tertiary level education in the Sri Lankan context. Moreover, future researchers willbe benefited with the results explored through this research.

Key words: Tenses, English, Undergraduates, Linguistic, Competence


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