The Influence Of First Language On The Learning Of The Target Language On Secondary Schools

Project and Seminar Material for Education

Project and Seminar Material for Education

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

Language is the only means through which communities in the world understand each other.

Language is different in nature and in order to use a language appropriately, it is essential to be aware of what forms of the language are proper and suitable in every given situation.

The content of language is concrete. For language to achieve its purpose, it is expected that the language should attain the level of scientific description, which is a common point of reference for teachers and learners. For instance, a dictionary for such a description of the language will embrace collection of data, explanation and codification so that teachers and second language learners will use the description for guidance.

A consistency of usage will enable the language to be acceptable and intelligible to all users.

1.1 Background Of The Study

According to Edward Sapir (1921) language is purely human and a non-instinctive method of communicating ideas, emotions and desires by means of the system of voluntarily produced symbols.

Also, language as seen by Biolinge (1968), is a system of vocal auditory communication pattern using conventional signs composed of arbitrary patterned sound units and essentials according to set when interacting with the experience of its users.

Also, language is seen as a medium of communication through which individuals understand each other.

First language (L1) simply refers to one’s native language. It is also the language learnt by children and passed from one generation to the other. It is also the language that you learn once you are born. This definition explains why a child born in the Hausa land and brought up in Hausa land will speak Hausa language but the parents of the child will be Tiv. This therefore means that the child’s first language is Hausa and the child’s mother tongue is Tiv language. And since the child is from Nigeria, the second language of the child will be English language.

A second language (target language) is any language learned after the first language. It is also a language other than the mother tongue that a person or community uses for education and administration. Again, second language is a non-native language officially recognized and adopted in a multilingual country as a means of public communication.

Second language also known as the target language refers to an auxiliary language used primarily as a second language.

Second language can also mean the language a person knows, in learning or in acquiring in addition to their native language. It can also be seen as a language which is not a mother tongue but which is used for certain communicative functions in a society. It is usually learned after the first language. For example: English is a second language in Nigerian. Again, the target language in Nigerian integrative orientation may not compulsorily lead to the superior mastery of (L2) since the socio-cultural context is one in which the acquisition of the target language is for obvious practical use or value.

These definitions prove or show that, acquiring a language needs a natural environment. Learning a language needs an unnatural environment (classroom).

The use of language has become the tool for communication since the creation of the universe (nature). The geographical location of oneself leads to the language of usage.

Language is used by human beings. Language is a very fascinating course of study, perhaps, because of its magical and mystical power and unique role in capturing the bread of human thoughts and endeavours.

Onyema (2009), said, human languages are estimated in the world to be 4,000 and 5,000 million languages that people use to express their feelings, and underlay diverse views, ideas and technology.

Crystal, (1987), said the estimated languages in Nigeria is between 250 and 400 different languages (Nigeria as a nation 2011-2-4). Language enables human kind to look back literally at the records of events or to make projections and look to the future.

A country that is occupied by different ethnic groups with different dialects usually look for a common way to understand each other. The language which they may choose to use may properly be learnt in a classroom situation. It is in view of this that the researcher intends to examine the influence of first language on the learning of the target language in secondary school students in Buruku local government area of Benue state.

The target language which the researcher lays emphasis on learning is the English language. And the beginning of the English language in Nigeria is not clear enough. It has been reported that the use of the language in Nigeria must have been earlier than it is known, Equiano (1989). And it is propagated by British missionaries and administrators (Adeygbo 1984). In a brief account by Banjo (1982), the language first came to Nigeria in the middle of the 16th century and was imported by the English sailors who had come to displace the Portuguese as the dominant traders on the west coast of Africa.

From this, English based pidgin resulted and later in the middle of 19th century, the Standard English of the metropolis began to be taught instructionally in Nigeria. Again, the part of the world known’s as Britain today, was before 43AD, occupied by a group of people called the Celts whose origin was not known. The history of the English language can be traced back to the first century, as one of the Germanic language which in turn descended from the indo- European languages. Besides English, German and Dutch are Germanic languages too. The British English is the English languages as spoken in Britain which includes the Scots, the Welsh and the Northern enlaces.

English is the language, originally of England, now spoken in many countries and used as a language of communication throughout the world.

Also, English is spoken as a first language by more than 300 million people throughout the world and used as a second language by many. One in five of the world population speaks English with some degree of competence.

1.2 Statement Of The Research Problem

The researcher here wishes to find out weather the first language has same characteristics with the target language. The errors that learners of the second language make in the course of learning the target language is another problem of the researcher.

Also, mother tongue interference on the learning of the target language, is also the problem of the researcher. The use of the first language and the factors affecting the effective learning of the target language.

1.3 Research Questions

To obtain true, reliable and concrete facts, the researcher has the following research questions to examine.

  1. Do the first language (L1) have the same characteristics with the second language(L1)?
  2. Do the situation and system of the target language differ from the first language?
  3. Do errors contribute in the learning of the target language?
  4. Are there factors affecting effective learning of the target language?

1.4 Purpose Of The Study

The intent of this project work is to examine the influence of the first language on the learning of the target language on secondary school students in Buruku local government area of Benue state.

The research may also examine the negative and positive influence of the first language on learning the target language.

1.5 Significance Of The Study

The researcher holds a strong belief that these research findings will be of great help to many people especially students across the universe. It will also be useful to readers in acquiring knowledge with valuable facts concerning the influence of first language on secondary schools particularly in Buruku local government area of Benue state and Nigeria at large.

The researcher sincerely believes that those who would want to make further research on the influence of first language on the learning of the target language in education irrespective of the local government affiliation will benefit immensely from this research.

1.6 Delimitation Of The Study

The study is limited to Buruku local government area of Benue state, Nigeria and linked to other towns like Gboko, Katsina-Ala etc.

The instruments for the study are questionnaires, observation and oral interviews.

The nature of the study is an investigation into the problems of the first language in learning the target language between teachers and students at the secondary school level.

Schools to be interviewed for the research work by the researcher include:

  1. Government secondary school Garagboghol.
  2. Government secondary school Buruku.
  3. Dooshima high school Tyowanye.
  4. Shorov community secondary school Tyowanye.
  5. Oxford international secondary school Tyowanye.

1.7 Definition Of Terms:

Language simply means a rope that ties a speech community together. Language is also seen as a medium of expression or a means of communication of various types. The following collocations appear in socio linguistic jargons: official language, national language, artificial language, language planning, and language community. This definition cogently shows that some languages are used officially. That is, some countries adopt official language to be used as office language (official language). This is done to understand each other both in learning institutions and at the international level. Again, the definition shows that, some languages are used as national language in some countries. A good example is Nigeria who chose English language as the official language in her country.

The Influence Of First Language On The Learning Of The Target Language On Secondary Schools

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