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Mother Tongue Influence and Its Impact on Spoken English
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English is valued highly in the Indian society with a lot of prestige being attached to the language. A lot of time and energy is dedicated to teach or learn English in the Indian schools. Despite this, not much attention is given to enhance the speaking skill in the average Indian classroom. That the learner will pick up the skill from general classroom activities and instructions over a period of time is a false assumption made. As a result, the learners are not able to develop this skill and hence lack confidence while conversing in English.
To further this, though articulation of individual sounds while teaching this language is addressed, teaching of pronunciation is not given much importance either. In regular Indian classrooms, the importance of native-like accent is not given due stress. One strong reason that could be attributed to this could be that number of dialects found is so large that it is practically impossible to address all the accents in a classroom. This is serious challenge in the Indian classrooms. The areas of sound relating to spoken English and to pronunciation in the Indian context needs to be consciously addressed to counter this challenge and to make native-like accent in Indian learners more plausible.
The importance of pronunciation in communication cannot be denied. In fact it is as important as grammar and vocabulary. Yet, the evidence of mother tongue influence on English is very obvious. This manifests in the form of incorrect pronunciation.
Pronunciation error may be due to many issues. Guesswork or vagueness of the correct form of a word or sentence, or a general ineptness of the language could be the reason of mispronunciation. The most common reason is transfer or interference from the mother tongue. Generally, errors made in pronunciation are due to difference in the sound system and spelling symbols between the mother tongue and English.
As a regular practice the teacher is seen as a model for correct speaking in class. The learners are expected to be introduced to the pronunciation of words in English by their teacher during the day-to-day interaction. It is when the teacher her/himself has coloured pronunciation that the learners are unable to acquire correct skills in spoken English. The pronunciation samples they are exposed to in their classroom environment being inappropriate, the learners are most likely to adopt a similar pronunciation skill.
Added to this is the challenge of the fossilised sound system of the mother tongue of the learners that inhibits the acquisition of the pronunciation and sound system of the second language. It is understood that if the second language is introduced to the learners before puberty, the chances of attaining a native-like pronunciation skill is easier. This challenge can surely be met by using the mother tongue removal tool offered in good digital language lab . Words Worth English Language Lab has an inbuilt facility to meet this requirement.
To help reduce this problem in Indian schools, it is vital that while on one hand spoken English be encouraged and promoted, on the other hand, such sound patterns as which are likely to be confused and faltered be identified and drilled. The learners should be able to practise these sound patterns over and over again using a model voice to emulate.
It has been realised that such activities when done in digital language labs, not only help eliminate the mother tongue influence, but also hasten the acquisition of the target language. Digital language labs equipped with this facility allow learners to listen to correct pronunciation of a word and the check their own learning during the practise session.
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How Mother Tongue Influence Makes English Speaking Difficult
I have a really interesting and relatable topic today: How Mother Tongue Influence Makes English Speaking difficult . It is interesting because most of us are unaware of that fact that we suffer from Mother Tongue Influence or MTI as it is popularly called and relatable because the moment you understand what it is, you will realise how common it is.
Before you assume it is a disease and go on to Google how dangerous it is, I would like to tell you it is not a disease, and can be easily dealt with.
So, without further ado, let see what MTI really is and how it makes speaking English difficult for us.
What is Mother Tongue Influence?
Our mother tongue is the language we grew up speaking. Literally speaking, it means the language our mother taught us: the language we speak since childhood. It is a popular saying that in India, language changes at every ten miles. This makes it difficult for us to speak in a standard accent as all of us have our own way of speaking English. This is what is called Mother Tongue Influence- when the effect of mother tongue on English becomes evident.
Some examples are: ‘iskool’, ‘istudent’, ‘plezar’, ‘requesht’ and other such words. In fact, I got the idea to write on this topic only after a student told us that he wanted to speak ‘bhery phluent Englis’.
How does it develop?
This problem arises because of vernacular medium schools, which are large in number in India. Hence, majority of Indians suffer from MTI. Another reason could be that children are introduced to English at a later stage in childhood. Studies show that those children who begin to learn a second language in their childhood, learn it faster. Learning at a later stage makes it difficult because by then child has already internalised the sounds of his/her mother tongue and applies the same to English, this is where the problem starts. Lastly, it could also be because of lack of exposure to English.
Effects of Mother Tongue Influence
People have a good laugh at the expense of those who speak with strong MTI. It is not right to do so because people who speak English with MTI know that they speak wrong. They know that people make fun of them when they speak English and so, they refrain from speaking English altogether.
Some more Effects of MTI are:
- Lack of confidence in speaking English
- Embarrassment in communicating with others publicly
- Inability to speak English properly due to internalisation of sounds from the mother tongue
- Slow career/academic growth
Most of our students ask us why MTI is such a big issue. Are the various accents in the world, such as American and British accents, not an example of MTI?
Yes, technically speaking these accents are also an example of MTI. But the difference is that these are universally accepted and uniform . In India, there is no consistency. We do have a standard Indian accent which we aim to make popular, but there is still a long way to go. As of now, The northern part of India speaks English in a different manner, the southern part has its own pronunciation and way of speaking and so on. Not just that, there are variations within the state as well! This is why MTI is an issue in India.
How to get rid of MTI
It is difficult to get rid of something you have internalised. However, it is not impossible. You can get rid of it by investing time and effort into it: practice with dedication and you shall succeed!
Ways to remove MTI:
- Practice tongue twisters to improve focus while speaking English.
- Read text aloud and note down the words that you pronounce incorrectly to practice later.
- Listen to podcasts to observe and understand the correct sound of each syllable.
- Listen to an English news channel every day to improve pronunciation .
- Watch English movies and listen to English songs to find out how native English speaker speak English.
- Join Spoken English classes and have your trainer correct you on the spot as you speak.
- Record yourself speaking English to find out which words you pronounce incorrectly.
In conclusion, I’d like to say that we need not be ashamed of how we speak. But, we need to neutralise our MTI in order to achieve a standard Indian accent that will be universally acceptable.
I hope this blog changed your perception. Do not forget to read our last blog on How to Speak English Confidently if you haven’t already!
See you again!
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Dahlquist, stephanie, abstract [en].
The intended purpose of this essay was to examine student essays to find out if there are any first language interferences in Swedish students’ written English. First language interference has been researched before, which will be presented in the essay, amongst other terms such as translanguaging, acquisition and language transfer, all explained in the theoretical concepts section. The material for this contrastive analysis was collected from a gymnasium in the south of Sweden. A total number of eighteen essays were collected and examined, with a total number of 235 interference errors, with prepositions being the largest number, and 735 non-interference errors, with spelling topping with 305 errors. In conclusion, the investigation showed some interference errors, but also highlighted the non-interference errors of the students’ essays. Finally, the study present examples for future research in the field, as well as examples of how teachers can work with their students to prevent first language interference errors and make their students aware of the influence their mother tongue have when learning a second, or third, language.
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Keywords [en], national category, identifiers, subject / course, educational program, supervisors, evangelista, elin-maria, stuart, foster, open access in diva, file information, by organisation, on the subject, search outside of diva, altmetric score.
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- Explains the journal influence of mother tongue on teaching english as a second language by k.dasarathi, kagitapu, v.s. ramakrishna, and rajesh kumar.
- Explains that communication competence is developed through correspondence between the two traditions of language in use. linguists studied the relationship between second language acquisition and native languages.
- Describes dr. paresh joshi's journal phonological contrastive analysis of consonant and vowel phonemes of r.p and gie.
- Concludes that teachers should use english as a medium of instruction to the students in the english class.
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Influence of Mother Tongue of English Language - Essay Example
- Subject: English
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Extract of sample "Influence of Mother Tongue of English Language"
On page 178 of class’s anthology there is a work by Amy Tan with the title Mother Tongue. What interests me about this work is the variations in the English language in different countries. This is usually as result of the influence of mother tongue. Amy Tan, a remarkable writer who is a daughter of immigrants from China has grown in California, United States but still faces the challenge of Mother Tongue influence. She acknowledges that she has different variations of the English language that she uses and this is mainly influenced by her mother tongue and her surroundings. She makes the keen observation that she uses different forms of English language when she is addressing her audience and when she is talking to her mother. In connection to this observation, the influence of mother tongue on the English language will be discussed.
The English language is highly valued in many societies like Indians, Chinese and other ethnic groups. A lot of prestige is usually attached to this language and many people from the various communities strive to learn the language. Most of the time, a lot of attention is not given to enhance the speaking skill. The energy is mainly dedicated to teaching and learning the English language. The false assumption is usually that knowing the English language directly translates to having the proper speaking skills of the language. This is usually not the case as many learners of the English language do not acquire the accurate speaking skills of the language. The speaking skills are much influenced when a person has an ethnic language.
The articulation of each sound is usually a challenge for many bilingual speakers. The problem is made even worse because when teaching the English language pronunciation of most of these words is usually not given a priority. One of the strongest reasons why pronunciation and articulation of English words is not given a lot of importance is presence of several dialects which makes it quite difficult to address all the accent present in any English class. This has been a serious challenge in most classes with bilingual students and the spoken English has been countered with several variations due to the numerous accents among the different leaners.
Pronunciation in any language is an equally important aspect as grammar or vocabulary. The influence of mother tongue on the English language usually manifests itself in incorrect pronunciation of words. Many people usually interference or transfer words directly from the mother tongue. There is usually a major difference between the spelling symbols and the sound system in English and those in mother tongue. This usually leads to several errors in the pronunciation of several common words. The sound system of the mother tongue usually inhibits the attainment of the proper pronunciation of the English language.
Mother tongue has also been known to influence the English vocabulary. This explains why the vocabulary is usually different from one country to another. English vocabulary is mainly affected by the sound systems in many other languages. A bilingual speaker may be affected by this as they may at times add different sounds to the ends of some English words. This may in turn create a new range of English vocabulary that did not exist before (Scriprabha, 2015). The sentence word order in the English language may also be influenced by mother tongue. Lack of practice of the English language may cause a person to often make such kind of errors. In other instances, it might be a variation of the English language in order to fit in a particular setting. In the work written by Amy Tan, she admits that at some point when she was speaking with her mother she used an erroneous sentence word order. Considering that she is a remarkable writer and is very proficient in the English language, this might have been a deliberate switch of the language so that she could relate with her mother. She says, “Not waste money that way” (Tan, 2011). The sentence structure she used is incorrect and this could be a direct translation from her mother tongue.
It is very rare to find two people who speak the English language the exact same way. This is usually as result of the different mother tongues that influence our various speaking skills. Most individuals who are bilingual have a different way of understanding and speaking the English language. The influence is usually from their ethnic language that most of them have learnt from a very young age. Sometimes it is very difficult for bilinguals to speak the English language to perfection. However, this does not mean that they do not understand the language well. Sometimes the mother tongue influences may hinder the proper pronunciation of some words but the message passed is still accurate.
English is a main avenue of communication between many people as it is a common language that is understood by many globally. Language plays a very important role in the families and this may explain why people from certain ethnic societies still hold on to their mother tongues despite having a common language that they can use to relate to other people. For instance, Amy Tan, who was brought up by immigrant parents with limited proficient of the English language, is still influenced by her mother tongue. Despite her remarkable skills in the English language, she still uses a not so accurate variation of the English language when speaking with her mother. She probably does this to relate well with her mother who does not have a proper understanding of the English language.
There is no doubt that the English language is held with very high prestige across the world. Nonetheless, different people from different ethnic communities have their own way of comprehending and speaking the language. Most of the time, people assume that a person who can speak English properly is not well learned or is not intelligent enough. This is far from the truth. Some people have a proper understanding of the English language but the mother tongue influence is quite evident especially in the spoken skills.
As explained by Amy, language is a very powerful tool that allows people to express their emotions and evoke visual images. This may be quite a complex idea especially among bilinguals who often face language deprivation while speaking the English language. The mother tongue may influence how fast and effective this individual can express his/her thoughts and have a meaningful conversation with other people. The challenge usually comes in when a person has to correctly combine several words and arrange them in a certain order that makes sense to the person listening. This is a serious challenge that many bilinguals face and they are therefore unable to establish fundamental keys that they can use to establish a meaningful conversation with others.
A language should be a tool that binds individuals from various communities together and not as a way to alienate a particular person from a community. Many people use the English language to identify others as outsiders simply because they do not have the same proficiency in the spoken language as other native English speakers. A person’s command of a language has the ability to demonstrate certain truths like the ability of a person to express themselves.
There is usually this perspective that those who ae proficient in the English language are more superior. It is unfortunate that this is the simple truth that the language articulates. For instance, Amy recalls how her mother is treated badly when she seeks certain services from banks, restaurants or even stores simply because she speaks a simple foreign variation of the English language. This explains how powerful a language is as it demonstrates that it has the power to form an identity as either an outsider or a person who is discriminated against simply because they lack the prowess in speaking it. However, there are bilingual individuals who are proficient in both written and spoken English but still chooses to use different variations of the language when addressing certain people. For instance, Tan uses simple version of the language when communicating with her family and a more complex version when addressing her audience since she is a writer. She understands that although many may term the simple variations of English as being illiterate, she sees it as a form of individuality. Therefore, in conclusion, as much as mother tongue influences the English language, it also leads to the different variations of the language that create individuality.
CHECK THESE SAMPLES OF Influence of Mother Tongue of English Language
Mother tongue by amy tan, power of language and the value of language diversity, chinese as mother tongue, the difficulties that indian learners might have in american's classroom to learn english, english as an additional language, phonological aspect of english teaching and learning, comparison and contrast of politics and the english language by orwell and mother tongue by tan a, the ecology of english in a country or community where english is a foreign language.
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