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MOTHER TONGUE INTERFERENCE IN THE ACQUISITION OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE (A STUDY OF GOKANA)

MOTHER TONGUE INTERFERENCE IN THE ACQUISITION OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE (A STUDY OF GOKANA)

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION:

1.1   Background of the Study.

Mother tongue is one’s native language.  The languages that a person uses can be differentiate into L1 and L2, that is first and second languages. First language is also known as mother tongue meaning our language or the language a child first comes in contact with depending on the environment he/she is born and raised while second language is a language that is later learnt at adult stage.  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 in extricable bound up with it (Anumihe and Kalu, 2010). Language is generally used for the purpose of interaction among people in the society. It is also used to differentiate people by sex, age and social status within a particular society. Language serves as a tool for development in every society. It develops nations or societies socially and particularly for the purpose of interaction within and outside a particular society. Through choice of words and forms of speeches, language can be used to differentiate gender or age (Bailey and Gorlach, 2013). Language is a creation which every human being is endowed with or blessed; a unique gift of language is used naturally as one tool of expression consisting of different sub skills. The English language is the official and native language of Britain, Ireland, North America, Australia, America and most of the British colonies, (for the colonies, it is regarded as the official language rather than native). It is commonly divided by periods into Anglo-Saxon, or old English (about 450-1100 Bc), Middle English (about 1100 to 15Bc) and modern English (from 1500 to date) (Adewumi, 2015). Language is an important tool that enhances human communication and interaction. It is a vital instrument in cultural transmission and preservation of a social group. It is in a fundamental sense, a crucial tool in the preservation and propagation of the human species. An examination of the linguistic content of a particular speech community can provide information about the life style, occupation etc. of a given people (Allen, 2013).

The English language beings the national official language for the British colonies of which Nigeria is among makes it our second language. Hence, our respective mother tongue exists before colonization. This has necessitated the teaching and learning of the English language and its consequent interference in our mother tongue in various study points nationwide. It is therefore, glaring to state that, Nigeria is a linguistically complex society by the mere fact of the history of its creation. It is estimated that there are between 250 and 400 language spoken in Nigeria (Ayodele, 2012). This linguistic heterogeneity promotes the continued use of English in Nigeria. Ethnologic include English amongst its list of Nigeria language this hardly supervising since the role of English language in Nigeria diverse and ubiquitous, especially as a means of intra and international communication. It is as a result of the negative effects which the mother tongue had caused the study of English language on the educational structures of the attempt to determine the mother tongue interference in the acquisition of English Language in secondary schools (Asun, 2011).

1.2   Statement of the Problem.

Every individual has a first language or a mother tongue.  Ogoni language is a largely spoken language in Rivers State of Nigeria. It is observed that most Gokana native speakers posses this problem of their second language (English) facing syntactic problem as a result of the interference or the influence of the mother tongue (Ogoni) over the second language (English). This is why a native speaker of Ogoni language is easily identified if he/she speaks English language because the interference will be observed once the speakers makes an utterance.

1.3   Purpose of the Study:

  1. To find out whether mother tongue can interfere in the acquisition of English language in secondary school.
  2. To investigate the qualifications of English teachers in secondary schools in Gokana.
  3. To investigate whether teachers makes use of correct methods in teaching of English language in secondary school in Gokana

1.4            Research Question

  1. Does mother tongue actually interferes in the learning of English language in secondary school?
  2. Are the English language teachers in schools in Gokana qualified­­?
  3. Do English language teachers adopt correct teaching methods in teaching?

 

1.5   Hypothesis

Ho    Mother tongue dose not interferes in the acquisition of English language. .

Hi     Mother Tongue interferes in the acquisition of English language

Ho2   English language teacher do not make use of correct teaching method.

Ho2   English language teachers makes use of correct method of teaching in teaching and learning of English language.

 

1.6   Significance of the Study:

This study will help to expose the numerous factors that influence the interference of the study of English language by the mother tongue or native languages. It will also identify the effects of this interference on other study area that are based on the use of the English language as the basic communication. This study will enable teachers to identify their problems in English language. This study will also enable student to understand how to make use of English words especially in pronunciation, intonation and phonetics. It will also enable the teachers to make more research on the use of English language.  Since English language has been used as a second official and sometimes even as a foreign language in Nigeria for a long time and give the inescapable behaviour of language in contact, it is normal to expect it to have factors which can identify it as bonafide subject, dialect, variely or idiom of world English. These may be seen as research findings relating to interference, derintation and creativity as are seen to obtain among speakers in Nigeria. English is now the term Nigerian English is used to refer to the subject of English spoken or written by Nigerians, it is commonly known that the features of Nigerians English language, like those of other new English, are essentially inherent particularly at the early stages of learning by the mother tongue features.

1.7   The Scope of the Study.

This research is the mother tongue interference in the acquisition of English language among secondary school students in Gokana Local Government Area. It is based on the available result gotten from continuous assessment and summative examinations of schools such as West Africa Examination Council, the national examination council and examination development centre for senior school certificate examination all in English Language.

 

Definition of Terms:

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

MOTHER TONGUE: The native language one first learns to speak before other language.

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.

FUNDAMENTAL: Serious and very important affecting the most central and important parts of something. (2) Foundation of reality.

HETEROGENEITY: Consisting of many different kinds of people or things (2) Uniformity/Alike.

ETHNOLOGICAL: The moral ideas and attitudes that belong to a particular group or society (2) peculiar to a race or nation.

 

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