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MOTHER TONGUE AS A MILITATING FACTOR IN SECOND LANGUAGE LEARNING AMONG COOU STUDENT OF ENGLISH

  • Department: ENGLISH LITERARY STUDIES
  • Chapters: 1-5
  • Pages: 65
  • Attributes: questionnaire, data analysis, abstract
  • Views: 426
  •  :: Methodology: primary research
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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION 1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

A language is the most powerful tool of learning. Language is a creation which every human is endowed with or blessed with; a unique gift of language is used naturally as one tool of expression consisting of different sub skills.  There is a considerable linguistic confusion on the part of a learner of a second language, as he thinks in his mother tongue but tries to express himself in a second language.  A language is a second language when it is chosen as the official language of a people who have other languages. In several countries of Africa, including Nigeria, English is an official language, the language of government, education, administration and general national and international transactions. It also, in these countries, serves as the language of the law courts, the mass media and commerce. In many of 'such countries, it did not become important by choice. Text books have remained in English especially in countries like Nigeria where there are numerous indigenous languages which deter curriculum planners from providing texts in so many languages. In many African countries today, there could be no serious interchange of professional knowledge, no education beyond the primary school level, without the English language.

·         Mother tongue is one’s native language. A language besides being the major distinguishing phenomenon between man and other creatures is evidently the most enduring of every people’s cultural heritage. It reflects the culture of a people and it is inextricable bound up with it. In Nigeria, the role of English is quite important especially since the problem of multiplicity of languages is really acute. It is, therefore, not foreseeable in future that any one language group will dominate the others successfully to become accepted as the language of education and government.  The importance of English language is so acutely felt that it has remained a compulsory school subject and a pre requisite for further education. Without a pass at the credit level, one does not hope to advance further in the country s educational ladder. This is the reason behind parents worry about their wards level of performance in the language. Such parents are quick to identify lapses which are sometimes erroneously regarded as marks of falling standards. Since English is needed for both internal and external communication, the teachers of the language have a lot of work to do. The major implication of the status of the language in Nigeria,  as a whole for the teacher is that students must be led to learn to use what is internationally acceptable, not only in Learner of English, despite their different backgrounds, face difficulties when it comes to learning English as a second or foreign language. The arrival of the British, concomitant with the English language provided a language contact situation with an attempt to a language shift in the population. Nonetheless, it is found that native speakers of English encounter shared difficulties when it comes to using English articles. This is found to be so because of the nature of the [mother tongue] Ibo article systems and its influence on Ibo English learners. . Therefore, it is found that the Igbo language has an effect with Igbo learners of the English language, especially when it comes to using English articles. Due to the differences between the Igbo and English article system such problems arise. This paper, lists these problems, discusses, explains and analyzes them.

In a politically, socially, culturally and linguistically diverse society, the learning and usage of a second language becomes very necessary not because it makes possible mutual interaction. In our Nigerian society, such is the situation because Nigeria has a geographical and political entity as was colonized by the British who were from a different linguistic background but English was adopted as a medium of communication and interaction.  This innate disposition enables one to acquire a first language and learn a second language.

Learners of English despite their different backgrounds, face difficulties where is found to be so because of the nature of the Igbo article systems and its influence on Igbo English learners. It is found that the cause of such problematic issues is due to the effect of  mother tongue,that is the effect of the learners' native language on second/foreign language learning. Therefore, it is found that the Ibo language interferes with Ibo learners of the English language, especially when it comes to using English articles. Due to the differences between the Igbo and English article system such problems arise.

1.1 Statement of the problem

The use of a particular form of a language by an individual reflects the individual s social status. Before the advent of British traders, missionaries and colonialists, indigenous Nigerian language defined every aspect of the speech community from its religious, cultural, political, Economics, social to whatever else that can be through of the language functioned effectively to deal with every thing relating to the day existence of the people. The arrival of the British, concomitant with the English language provided a language contact situation with an attempt to a language shift in the population.

            Where English language sentences are made, they are characteristically uttered with variation in pitch often referred to as intonation. This is often an area of difficulty for second language, users of English language who have tonal Language as their first language. This is one of the major problems encountered by learners of English language. Other areas of problem encountered are Sentence and word stresses, vowel sounds and English supra segmental of pitch. The study intended to identify   mother tongue  as a militating factor in Second Language Learning among Coou students of English.  In a politically, socially, culturally and linguistically diverse society, the learning and usage of a second language becomes very necessary not because it makes possible mutual interaction. In our Nigerian society, such is the situation because Nigeria has a geographical and political entity as was colonized by the British who were from a different linguistic background but English was adopted as a medium of communication and interaction. . Human beings have an i innate disposition that enables one to acquire a first language and learn a second one.  When we listen to most students of English in Coou,traces of  mother tongue interference are observed. If we listen to some students and also listen to a monolingual student who is a speaker of igbo, we notice an obvious difference. We realize a considerable element of English in the student of  igbo origin. Linguistically, the effect is located at the phonological level When we also listen to the student of English Coou at the phonological level, we hear how sounds in Igbo are reproduced in terms of English; mother tongue interference occurs. Here lies the problem which this study seeks to investigate.

1.3 Purpose of  Study

This research is to investigate the effect, causes , characteristics of  mother tongue as a militating factor in second language learning among  COOU student of English. It has been discovered that English students of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University uses the mother tongue for expression in commmunication, and these has become a problem in learning of the second language. This study enables us to  find out the level at which  mother tongue  effect  the learning of second language among COOU stsudent of English..

1.4 Scope of the Study

Language cannot be studied in isolation from the society, because men make up the society and the importance of language to man has remained unchallenged by any scientific linguistic research. Also, the importance of a second language that has almost assumed status in the society cannot be dismissed with a wave of hand. This research is   mother tongue as a militating factor in second language learning among COOU Student of English.

It is based on the available result gotten from  assessment of Coou students of English and Books, Journals etc relating to the teaching and learning of the english language . This research work will attempt investigating the effect of mother tongue on the learning of the second language among the Coou student of english, focusing on the state capital.

1.5 Definition of Terms:

It is imperative to properly define the terms that make the heading of the research topic under study. This will go long way at giving direction to the research work.

These includes:

MOTHER TONGUE: The native language one first learns to speak before other languages. Mother tongue, or first language or native tongue is the first language or dialect that a person has been exposed to from birth or within the critical period In some countries, the term native language or mother tongue  refers to the language or dialect of one's ethnic groups rather than one's first language.

The first language of a child is part of that child's personal, social and cultural identity. Another impact of the first language is that it brings about the reflection and learning of successful social patterns of acting and speaking .Research suggests that while a non-native speaker may develop fluency in a targeted language after about two years of immersion, it can take between five and seven years for that child to be on the same working level as their native speaking counterpart.

INTERFERENCE: In this context, interruption of a language by another especially in pronunciation and intonations.

ANGLO-XASON: A person whose  ancestors were English. (2) An English person of the period before the norman conquest.

1.6 Research Questions

This research is guided by the following questions;

a . Are there noticeable differences when these students speak another language outside their mother tongue?

b. Will students notice the transfer of their indigenous language intonation patterns while speaking their second language?

ss. Does mother tongue actually  interferes in the learning of English language of Coou student of English?

The formulation of these questions was based on the consideration of the linguistic socio linguistic features among Coou student of English.

1.7 Hypotheses

Ho1 Mother tongue dose  interfers in the learning of English language.      

Ho2 linguistic environment is the major component in mother tongue.

CHAPTER TWO                                                                                                                                          

LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1. Introduction

Today, it is not uncommon for English language teachers to complain about the extremely poor standard of students in English language. On the other hand, there are a few of the students whose written and spoken English hardly reflect their educational attainment. For instance, it is not uncommon to hear a secondary school pupil say: my little brother is eating his big finger , when he actually means my little brother sucks his thumbs . One of the causes of such short coming could be traced to the problem of English language coming in contact with the mother tongue where English is the L2. As noted by Weireith (1968), he said that when languages come into contact, they are bound to influence each other positively or negatively. In a case of languages coming in contact, it is expected that the first language (L1) or mother tongue will, in many ways interfere with the acquisition of the 18 L2.what usually happens is that the pattern of L1 tends to be transferred unconsciously into the L2, which in this case is the English language. In this chapter therefore, the research will review the available literature on Mother Tongue in the acquisition of the English language as a second language , and the likely factors responsible for such interferences.

2.2Brief History of Development of Teaching and Learning of  English Language in Nigeria.

from British. How ever, English began was spoken in Nigeria as far back as the early 1800, due to the large British naral presence who had been sent in an attempt to halt the  slave trade.

A detailed The term English is often in its most sense referred to the language of England and of southern Scotland from a historical view point. it is commonly known that during the 5th century AD, the entomic tribes invaded Britain whose tribes comprised the Jutes, Anglos and the Saxons.Later, Anglo-saxon civilization came into existence from the word Anglos, two other words, English and English were derived. This English originally meant the language of the Anglos and their kindred tribe (Baugh 2005.52).

English became the official language of Nigeria on October 1st 1960, when Nigeria gained its independencestudy of the history of the English language shows three main stages, old English, middle English and modern English.

            A rough guide, one may see the historical sketch as follow: AD 430-450, the earliest period of the cuts and the Romans; AD 450-800; the old English of saxon, Vikings/davies, AD 1100-1500, the middle English of the Nornman; As 1500-1828, modern English. This greatly enhance by Dr. Johnsons Dictionary (1755) and Noah Webster’s American Dictionary (1828) Tempte (2006).

            A point Worthy of note is old English and middle English were characterized with understandable, Homogeneity, Amstrang (2006) put it, middle English period for instance, was the time when English men spoke English and English was the language of them. Numbers of speakers were min and although the population grew during the period from 3 (three) million to approximately 4.5 million, it was of the same order of size throughout. The English speaking population extended from North of Aberdeen to the Aeron-Corwall boarder with a few groups of outhiers, but not enough to after the character of an essentially single and lomogenous community in a fairly uniform environment.

            Clark (200) states, how speakers of two languages seem to divide the world up conceptually in the same way, they stick the linguistic label on the different places.

The term English naturally follows from the process of notarization. At first it may sound unusual since no matter the changes, the languages has gone through from its ancient period to the present, it remains essentially English.

            Also no matter the modifications to it from new environments and new cultures, common are features of all the varieties, must exist before they can be referred to as English. These are common and non technical ways of considering the matter. When considering from a technical view point however, the term English which arises as a result of specific (and some times peculiar) circumstances in which it tids itself at it moves to various parts of the world through various people.

            As practically everyone knows our generation has witnessed an unprecedented spread of the language to nearly all parts of the world. Whenever English spreads to and remains there for a considerable length of time it gets natirizaed and so develops peculiar features reflecting its new environment.

Thus, the term English may be used to refer to all subsets if English globally. It also covers general varieties such as those marked by subject matter, attitudes and medium or even varieties designated qualitatively, non should basic standard sophisticated.

            At a different level of consideration, English may be seen in term of a designation into technical terms such as second language (L2) foreign language (FL) Atternate language, (AL) First language (FI) looking at these in the reverse order. The speaker’s first language is the language he is born into and acquires effortlessly. It is sometime referred to as his mother tongue if English is a person’s first language, there will be no reason for considering the speaker’s level of education in the language, he will be adjusted competent in it and will remain the final authority in all matters which are internal to it.

            As indicated earlier England and the Southern parts of Scotland are the home of the oldest and must authentic speakers of English as a first language. A little expression might help us to appreciate the true nature of English as a first language; if a child is left in the care of adults in England, the child will perfectly speaker English as his first language and will do it exactly the way his parents do.

            An alternate language is by far straighter forward. As shown in Schmitt (2008) the ultimate goal of most second language learners is to attain native like fluency. They want to be indistinguishable from native speakers.

However, for has remained, this dream has remained a dream and has not come true especially in the area of pronunciation as native speakers usually identify then as non-native accent. A large number of second language learns believe that the main difficulty they encounter when speaking the second language is pronunciation and consider this difficulty as the main sources for their communication problems.

            English occupies a high status among world international language, as it becomes the language of diplomacy, trade, communication, technology and business. Thus, learning English provides the person with an advantage as an active participant in today’s world, opening new horizontal to a better future.

            English has developed from a foreign language used between native speakers and non native speaker to an international language or to a means of global, communication, spoken far speakers .Themselves than between native speakers. Therefore, it is vital that students learning English for international communication learn to speak it as intelligibly and comprehensibly as possible not necessarily like native speakers, but well enough to be understood.

Moreover, it is equally important that they learn to understand it when spoken by people with different accent speaking in natural conditions.

2.3 conceptual framework

2.3.1 Effect of mother tongue

Finding shows that, mother tongue hinder effective communication among students in class. It also shows that, Mother tongue influence students' academic performance.The evidence of mother tongue effect 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.

. 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.

2.3.2. Mother tongue interference on English Language

Linguistic interference obtains at the phonological, grammatical and semantic levels. When a learner is confronted with a new language, he usually faces problems arising from the differences between the linguistic system of his L1 and the L2.

2.3.1.1 Pronunciation

From the foregoing so far, the importance of mother tongue in the learning of English cannot be overemphasized. Language is said to be universal so these issues are not peculiar to Nigerian context. it is therefore necessary to tackle the issue of interference to bring a free flow from mother-tongue to the learning of English among children. Errors may occur due the fact that some of the English sounds are not found in their mother-tongue. It has rightly been observed that in the first language learning, the learner is highly motivated and is surrounded by a conductive linguistics environment, the kind that the second language lacks. This implies that though language learning is generally difficult, second language learning has greater problems which results in the greater number of errors in performance of second language users (Onuigbo. 1984 cited in Aladeyomi and Adetunde. 2007). Bhelda (1999) opined that in as much as the second language learning environment encompasses everything the language learner hears and sees in the new language. the learner s goal is the mastery of the target language. The learner begins the Ieaming task of learning a second language from point zero (or close to it) and. through the steady accumulation of the mastered entities of the target language, eventually amasses them in quantities sufficient to constitute a particular level of proficiency. Ll interference when speaking or writing in a second language is generally a lifelong experience which needs continuous attention. sometimes even up to adulthood the lexical stress patterns of their mother tongue in their second language (English) oral production, are not shaken off in spite of years of teaching and listening. Interference can be identified according to regional variations in Nigeria, especially, in phonology and lexis. Certain pronunciations are identified with members of an ethnic group and when all the markers of the group s accents are present in a particular speaker. one can be fairly  certain that the speaker in question is a member of that ethnic group by birth or upbringing. or both. So, it is easy to identify Yoruba. Igbo. Tiv, Hausa speakers, just a few out of about 400 languages in Nigeria (Idowu, I999). Onike (2009) posited that mother tongue  is a psycho linguistic concept which is a reality in language learning. Errors in second language learning are partly attributable to interference. Theorists of interference believe that acquisition of the first language usually affects performance in subsequent language acquired. Interference as a linguistic problem is common in communities where second languages (usually the lingua franca) must be learnt. In other words, interference is a term which refers to a situation whereby two different languages overlap. Interference is either positive or negative transfer of the linguistic knowledge of a language into performance in the other. Negative transfer pertains to difficulties in using the target language which are mainly attributed to mother tongue interference. Positive transfer however implies the ease or facilitation in learning the L 2 resulting from similarities between the L l and L 2.

2.3.1.2Two types of mother tongue interference can be distinguished.

The first type is the proactive interference. This is an interference phenomenon that helps in the acquisition of the target or subordinate language. For instance, the presence of certain consonants and vowels in Nigeria indigenous languages facilitate the acquisition of such similar sounds of the English language. Such sounds include bilabial plosive voiced /b/, voiceless alveolar plosive /t/, /d/ as well as short vowels such as /i/, /u/, and /e/.

The other type of interference is the retroactive type; this type retards the process of the learning of the target language. According to Bamgbose (1971), most of the phonetic characteristics in the English of Nigerians can be traced back to the transfer features from their local languages (see some examples below) . Igbo people are one of the largest ethnic groups in West Africa. The majority of the Igbo speak the language which is said to be a tonal language just like yoruba and Chinese. Igbo live in Eastern part of Nigeria.The sound system of their mother has a considerable effect on how the students acquire and use English. According to Tiffen (1969) ... each language has a different sound system, a different set of meaningful sounds contrasts or phonemes as they are called..  Differing stress and intonation system often affect the way students acquire and use English. For instance, while English works on stress marks and intonation (secondary and primary stresses), the igbo is a tone language (i.e. high tone (́), mid tone (-) and low tone (`). Also, differences in grammatical patterns pose a lot of problems for learners of L2.

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