The importance of English language acquisition as a stepping stone for proficiency in other school subjects cannot be over emphasized. The knowledge is important both for educational, economical and national development of a country.
The importance of English language as a school subject derives mainly from its utilitarian value to the larger Nigerian society; English is their official language of administration and commerce. It is also the major language of science. Above all, English language helps in improving the communication among, the various ethnic groups in Nigeria. Therefore, there is need for improving the quality of spoken and written English language among students at all levels.
Although English language retains its dominant position in the education delivery system in Nigeria, the thrust of our educational language policy is the use of the mother tongue or the language of the immediate community in teaching. The mother tongue medium education at the primary school level is provided in less than twenty Nigerian languages throughout the country.
However, there have been problems of communicative competence in the use of the English language and its use as the main language of instruction in Nigeria’s education delivery process. But it is quite unfortunate that most students do not possess the required competence on the four language skills for both cognitive and communicative functions.
Mother tongue therefore, is defined as the language which a group of people considered inhabitants of an area acquired in the early years and which eventually becomes their natural instrument of thoughts and communication. It is also the first language that a person learned. The mother tongue is a part of the Nigerian culture; it conveys or transmits culture and itself in subjects to culturally conditioned attitudes and beliefs.
MOTHER TONGUE INTERFERENCE
Mother tongue interference is the influence of the native language of the learner on her/his acquisition of the target language what the target language means in this context is the language the learner is aiming to learn.
Learners of English language, despite their different backgrounds, face difficulties when it comes to learning English as a second or foreign language. It is found that native speakers of English encounter shared difficulties when it comes to using English for performance. It is however; found that the cause of such problematic issue is due to the influence of mother tongue interference.
MOTHER TONGUE AND PROJECT DEFENSE
You there is usually a hugh difference between writing your undergraduate projects and presenting it. Mother tongue affects students’ presentation during final year project defense. Students whose mother tongue has interfered greatly with the way they speak the English language may find it difficult expressing themselves freely and fluently during project defense and as a result of this, it could affect their performance and the marks awarded as well.
Also the mother tongue interference could make some students unable to explain the main findings of the research during project defense. This may look as though the student did not carry out a substantial research.
HOW TO REMOVE MOTHER TONGUE FROM YOUR ENGLISH
A) LEARN CORRECT INTONATION AND ENGLISH RHYTHM
One of the ways to remove mother tongue from the way you speak in English language is to learn correct intonation and English rhythm. You must understand that learning never stops whether in the classroom or out of the classroom you should always seek for more knowledge and to improve especially in speaking good, correct and fluent English devoid of mother tongue interference. You can on your own, learn correct intonation and various English rhythms to assist your spoken English so as to improve greatly in it.
B) ALWAYS SPEAK ENGLISH WORDS
Another point to note on how to remove mother tongue form your English is to always speak the English language. You must learn to inculcate the habit of always speaking English words no matter wherever you find yourself. Consistency is the key. If you are consistent with speaking English words often, you will automatically see yourself improve in the English language your fluency will also improve.
C) ENCOURAGE DAILY COMMUNICATION IN ENGLISH
It is highly encouraged that as a student you learn to communicate daily in English language as it will help you to get rid of your mother tongue interference when speaking English language. In as much as communicating daily in English language is encouraged, it doesn’t mean you should do away with your mother tongue as the mother tongue is your identity as well as preserves the culture of a people. However, the aim here is to avoid mother tongue interference in speaking the English language and to ensure that you speak the English language fluently as well as express yourself very well in English.
D) KEEP READING
No one should ever think he/she has gotten that point in life where they no longer need to learn or read to acquire more knowledge or even have an understanding of the happenstances in the society. Constant reading of books, journals, newspaper, novels, texts etc. can impact greatly on your English language. It will also give you the opportunity of learning new words and their meanings.
In conclusion, with the numerous problems of communicative competence in the use of the English language and its use as the main language of instruction in Nigeria’s education delivery process, it is quite unfortunate that most students do not possess the required competence on the four language skills for both cognitive and communicative functions and as such find it difficult in defending even their final year project. Mother tongue interference has affected lots of students especially those coming from highly cultured families who believe that the child shouldn’t learn any other language more than the child learns his/hers. As much as is the right thing, they must also understand that the English language has come to be the official language of administration and commerce. It is also the major language of science and as such for any child for attends an institution of learning must be able to speak the language fluently with mother tongue interference.