The Influence Of The Mother Tongue On Second Language Acquisition And Proficiency

Project and Seminar Material for Linguistics and Communication

The Influence Of The Mother Tongue On Second Language Acquisition And Proficiency


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background Of The Study

A child’s mother tongue is the language that he learns from his mother. Language is used to generate new thoughts and to devise complex communication processes. Linguistics is the systematic analysis of language. Language is a tool for expressing one’s thoughts and sharing them with others. Language allows people to share information, views, thoughts, orders, thanks, and feelings. Language may be used to convey humor, enjoyment, acceptance, or bitter feelings. The word “mother tongue” refers to the idea that a child’s linguistic abilities are honed by his or her mother, and that the mother’s language is the predominant language that the child can understand.

If the spouses come from the same tribe, this was/is a possibility. The mother tongue, also known as the native or first language, is the language that an individual learns from birth or during a crucial time where the opportunity to learn a language is restricted. “The mother tongue is the language a person has learned as a child at home, usually from the parents,” says Christine Senfuma, a wife and mother of one. She adds that children groomed in bilingual homes can have more than one mother tongue. Allen Kaziro, a secondary school teacher, says: “The mother tongue is the language a person has learned as a child at home, usually from the parents.”. From birth, a child knows his or her parents’ language. It’s tough to get rid of the mother tongue’s power. Because of the mother tongue’s power, students often feel inferior. Non-native speakers lack the ability to interact accurately and quickly. Second language learners have a proclivity for transferring anything from their native tongue to the second. The students convert the target language into their native tongue and then talk in their native tongue. Due to a lack of instruction in the second language, some students have difficulties speaking in the target language. During school hours, students can only speak in their native language. This might make mastering a target language more difficult. At the moment of birth, the infant begins to learn something by listening to his or her parents speak in the language that they speak. “The influence and emphasis of regional language overshadows the learning of English,” Biswajit says. Students study the English language in classes, but they are unable to create a sentence that is free of errors.


1.2 Statement Of The Problem

An individual’s usage of a different dialect of a language represents his or her social standing. That is why, according to Blackar (1999), we exist and work in a world of words. As a result, language is an item that represents social identification to some degree. Learning and using a second language becomes extremely important in a historically, geographically, economically, and linguistically complex world, not that it allows for reciprocal contact. Since Nigeria is a territorial and political body that was colonized by the British, who came from a different linguistic tradition, English was embraced as a means of contact and interaction in our Nigerian community. According to Wilson and Smith (2009), it is commonly held and proved that humans are predisposed to studying specific varieties of expression. This natural ability allows us to master a first language and then a second. This skill, however, varies from one individual to the other, resulting in what Elindor (1989) called linguistic inequality, or a significant gap between the lexis users. The difference between these two speakers allows us to classify them as one belonging to a higher social strata and the other to a lower social strata.


1.3 Objective Of The Study

The following are the primary objectives of the study

  1. To identify the extent to which mother tongue influence the learning of a second language
  2. To investigate whether a child’s parental socioeconomic status affect second language acquisition and proficiency
  3. To examine if a child’s environment also influence second language acquisition and proficiency .

1.4 Research Questions

  1. What extent do mother tongues influence the learning of a second language?
  2. Does a child’s parental socioeconomic status affect second language acquisition and proficiency?
  3. Do a child environment influence second language acquisition and proficiency?

1.5 Significance Of The Study

This study will be of significance to the general public as it will serve as a guide to the public not to be limited to our mother tongue only and learning or acquiring a second language will be of great benefit.


1.6 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 work will attempt investigating the influence of mother tongue on second language acquisition and proficiency


1.7 Limitation Of The Study

Finance, time constraint and lack of research materials were the major challenges the researcher encountered during the course of this study.


1.8 Definition Of Terms

Mother Tongue:

Is a language that a person has been exposed to from birth or within the critical period

Language Proficiency:

Is the ability of an individual to use language with a level of accuracy that transfers meaning in production and comprehension


The Influence Of The Mother Tongue On Second Language Acquisition And Proficiency


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The Influence Of The Mother Tongue On Second Language Acquisition And Proficiency

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