Influence Of Mother Tongue On The Oral English Of Secondary School Students

Project and Seminar Material for English Education

Influence Of Mother Tongue On The Oral English Of Secondary School Students


Abstract


The rate of failure recorded every year in most external examination constitutes a major concern to the education sector. Every year government recruits more teachers into the system, capacity of various kinds are conducted at all time, yet the failure rate continues to increase. On this basis this study investigate influencing mother tongue on students in oral English language in Secondary Schools in Ilorin South Local Government area of kwara state, Nigeria. Survey research design was adopted, 100 secondary school teachers were randomly selected from secondary schools in Ilorin South Local Government area of kwara state, Nigeria, to complete the self-designed instrument constructed for data collection in this study. The study employed frequency counts, percentages and chi-square statistical tools for the analysis of the collected data. The findings show that mother tongue interference has impact on the writing and spoken of English language among secondary school students. Another finding shows that, mother tongue hinder effective communication among students in class. It also shows that, Mother tongue influence students’ academic performance. Lastly, mother tongue hinders students from mastering the grammar of other languages. This study however concluded that, interference of Mother tongue on Secondary School Students’ of Yoruba language or other languages competence cannot be overemphasized.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

Language is the most distinctive human quality and attribute. Language is characterized by a set of vocal sounds which can be decoded. Language does not exist in a vacuum. It is always contextualized. There is a relationship between language and society. The importance of the relationship between language and society cannot be over-emphasized in the education of a child. Language is a guide to social reality. English language is one of the languages used in Nigeria.

English language has become a valuable legacy of the British which has provided Nigerians with yet another means of expressing their culture. English language is Nigeria’s official language (Adedimeji, 2007). English language performs numerous functions in Nigeria. It serves as lingua franca. It is the language of instruction, language of constitution, language of nationalism, media, Government, education among others. This is because Nigeria is a multilingual country and English language serves as a link among the people.

English language is introduced to a child from the fourth year of primary school up to the university level (Olajide, 2010). This is clearly stated in section 4 paragraph 19, subsection on primary education, 2004 of the Federal republic of Nigeria’s national policy on education. ‘That English language shall be used as a medium of instruction and the language of immediate environment from the fourth year and French shall be taught as a subject’. This means that English language shall be the language of instruction from the fourth year of the primary education.

In Nigeria, much importance is attached to English language. It occupies a vital role in the educational system, such importance could be seen in terms of the functions English language perform in Nigeria. It is an act of political expedience and in addition, it helps to remove the fear of ethnical domination. The practical oral aspect of English language becomes even more important for the purpose of interaction and articulation in our day to day use of the language.

Furthermore, the use of English language paved way for participation at national and international levels. To be able to participate in the social, political and economical life of the country, one must be able to understand and use English language effectively and efficiently. English language is used for vertical mobility (Adedimeji, 2007). It enables one to move from a lower social class to higher one. It is the language of prestige not because the users are more intelligent than the illiterates but because they can speak it. So it has become a language of personality (Adedimeji, 2007). The role of English language in Nigeria stresses the need for Nigerians to learn, understand and make use of English language proficiently. There is no doubt that interference is the major effect of mother tongue language on English language.

Interference has been observed as a cogent influence that mother tongue language has on English language. Sources of the interferences therefore could be phonology- (a science which deals with the study of sounds in language) that is how different sounds or phonemes are combined. Morphology (this deals with the combination of morphemes to form words, morpheme is the smallest indivisible unit of a language that has a significant meaning). Syntax (the arrangement of words in a language according to rules). The concern of this project is on the phonological aspect of English language (oral English).

Also, there could be poor teaching of pronunciation by the teachers. Some of the teachers use grammatical translation method especially in the elementary schools. They often explain meanings of English words using the mother tongue language. The pupils transfer the idea of having explanation of meanings being made in the mother tongue language over to the secondary schools. It is therefore the intention of this study to identify problems that affect the oral English of students in the secondary schools as regards the influence of mother tongue language on it. In addition, suggestions and recommendations would be made on how to reduce the influence of mother tongue language on oral English.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

There is no doubt that secondary school students in Nigeria are being faced with the problem of mother tongue language interference in studying English language. The oral aspect of English language is the main focus of this research. The influence of the mother tongue language on the pronunciation of English words is one of the problems. The influence of the home background on the students’ pronunciation of English words is also a problem.

Hence, series of works have been done concerning the problems of mother tongue language interference on the oral English of secondary school students in English language but it was observed that little or no emphasis has been made on the influence of mother tongue language on the oral English of secondary school students.

Consequently, there has been a need to conduct a research work on the influence of mother tongue language on the oral English of secondary school students.


1.3 Purpose of the Study

The general purpose of this study is to examine the influence of mother tongue language on the oral English of secondary school students.

Specifically, the purposes of this study are to determine;

  1. The influence of home background on the students’ performances in oral English.
  2. The influence of non-availability of language equipment on students’ performances in oral English.
  3. The influence of poor teaching on the students’ performances in oral English.
  4. The influence of the teacher’s qualification on the performances of students in oral English.

1.4 Research Questions

Based on the purposes of this study, the following questions are raised to direct the study.

  1. What are the influences of home background on the students’ performances in oral English?
  2. What are the influences of non-availability of language equipment on the students’ performances in pronunciation?
  3. What are the influences of poor teaching on the performance students in oral English?
  4. What are the influences of the teacher’s qualification on the performance of students in oral English?

1.5 Scope of the Study

This study focuses on Ilorin South Local Government area of kwara state, Nigeria. The target scope of this study is the secondary schools in Ilorin South Local Government Area. The sample scope of this study is limited to four (4) secondary schools in Ilorin South Local Government namely; Government Day Secondary school, Tanke, Bishop Smith Memorial Secondary school, Union Baptist Grammar school, Gaa-Akanbi and Chapel secondary school Tanke, Ilorin.

The sampling technique to be used is the simple random sampling technique. The sample scope is limited to the selected schools above. The sample scope will be limited to one hundred (100) students; twenty-five (25) from each school and it is restricted to only the senior secondary school two (SS 2). The questionnaire will be used as the instrument scope of this study. Questionnaire on the influence of mother tongue language on oral English will be asked to elicit responses from the students. Simple percentage will be used as the statistical scope of this study.


1.6 Operational Definition of Terms

The terms of the project work will be operationally defined by the researcher.

Mother Tongue:

Mother tongue is a language of one’s parents or language of the child’s immediate environment. It is a language acquired at birth and which meets all of a child’s needs always. The mother tongue language in this study is Yoruba.

Oral English:

Oral English is the way in which English language is transmitted through a conventional system sounds. Oral English is also called Spoken English. The way sounds are being articulated to give a good and competent pronunciation.

Influence:

This occurs when an individual allows the features of his/her mother tongue language (Yoruba) to interfere within his/her competence in the target language (English). The proper use of Yoruba dialect on English language.


1.7 Significance of the Study

The findings of this study would be of immense benefit to student-teachers, students, teachers, stakeholders and Government. This would be facilitated by making the study available in places where the public could gain access to it, for example; the library, internet and print media houses.

The essence of this study is to show the result of the co-existence of the mother tongue language (Yoruba) and English language. The co-existence will allow students to be exposed to the interference of the two languages, where the interference occurs and how to minimize it. The study will help the teachers of English language to know the measures to be taken in order to help students minimize their mother tongue language interference on oral English.

Finally, the suggested solutions in this study would be of great benefits to educational curriculum planners. It would help the education curriculum planners to place premium on the essential aspect of the study of English language which would be of immense help in alleviating the problems of mother tongue language interference in oral English.


Chapter Five


Discussion, Conclusion and Recommendation

Introduction

This chapter gives a general overview of the whole research study that is the discussion, conclusion and recommendations based on the findings of the investigation. An attempt has been made in this research work to find out the influence of mother tongue on the oral English of secondary school students.


5.1 Discussion

The findings revealed that lack sound background in English influences the performance of students in oral English. The socio-economic background of students’ parents has a great influence on the students’ performance in oral English. This is supported by Herrick and Jacob (1999) that children of parents in the higher occupational groups are definitely superior in every phase of language to children from the lower occupational groups. This is also supported by Adegbite (2008) that parents of the rich families could afford to buy the children some picture books in English language which helped the children master English alphabets even before entering a classroom. This shows that the kind of home background a child is exposed to helps in minimizing mother tongue influences on oral English.
Also, the level of education of the parents has a great effect on the students’ performance in Oral English. Obanya et al., (2004) opines that children of the educated parents are encouraged to speak English language at home and at all times and this surely helps to improve the child’s mastery of the language while the children of the uneducated parents are not encouraged to speak English language at home.

Another finding from the study indicated that lack of language teaching equipment influences the students’ performance in oral English. Corder (2005) emphasizes the importance of language laboratory to the effectiveness of proper language teaching especially the oral aspect of English. Inspite the value placed on language laboratory, many schools and colleges do not have any and many teachers of English language have never used a language laboratory either for self-training or for training others (Corder, 2005). This is obviously shown in the findings of this research.

Finally, it was established in research question three that poor teaching has a significant influence on the students’ performance in oral English. According to Montaigne (1969), the apparent lack of concern for the individual in a pronunciation class is therefore a major factor as to why students’ speech behaviour has not changed in spite the vigorous teaching. Also, Joseph (2003) says that the more the student is exposed to good model and the more relevant the materials appear to the student and the more likely he is to make considerable effort needed to speak the language well.


5.2 Conclusion

Sequel to the analysis of the data collected for the study- the influence of mother tongue on the oral English of secondary school students in Ilorin South Local Government Area of Kwara State, the following conclusions were reached:

English language is inevitable to individual’s life because of its role as a world language; it is useful in communication in Nigeria especially economically, politically, socially and educationally. But with the use of English, there are some factors that are responsible for the influence of mother tongue on oral English of students.
Through the research work, the following findings were revealed. It was discovered that the learners (students) have problems with most of the sounds which were available in their mother tongue and they replaced the sounds with the ones that were found. They were also unable to differentiate a sound from other related and counterpart sounds.
More so, the students pronounced sounds according to how the words were written down. This is because in the students’ mother tongue (Yoruba), words are written as they were pronounced and vice versa. The students find consonant clusters problematic and they removed certain consonants where there is a consonant cluster.
It was discovered that the students’ home background influences their performance in oral English. English language teachers were more academically qualified than professionally qualified.

Lack of language teaching equipment affects the oral English of students. Many schools and colleges do not have any language teaching equipment, for example; language laboratory.

Some of the teachers are good models while some are not efficient in their work because they have never used radio or tape recorder which is practical enough to aid good English pronunciation. Thus, it was found that poor teaching of pronunciation affects the oral English of students.


5.3 Recommendations

From the results of this research, the following recommendations were made.

It is advisable that parents encourage their children to strive harder to learn and speak English language both within and outside the home. The parents should also assist the schools to equip their language laboratories, libraries either in cash or in kind because the Government alone cannot do this.

Furthermore, the students need to be enlightened on why they should be able to use English language fluently. They should use their leisure hours to read novels, newspapers and magazines at home. Students should be exposed to English language earlier in life so that they would master the pronunciation pattern better.

The number of students per teacher that is (in the English class) should be kept smaller, say between ten and twenty students per class so that the teacher will be able to monitor individual students’ performance. Over-crowded class should be avoided in oral English classes.

Students should be encouraged and motivated when they use English language more fluently. This could be done through organized activities like debates, literary activities, and drama and general discussions.
Teachers of English language should discuss with the students using the English spoken language always. Teachers should teach English like they would teach in the mother tongue. Teachers should also make the teaching of English as real as possible through the use of adequate language teaching aids.

Moreover, teachers who teach other school subjects should show good examples in their own speech and cooperate with the English teachers by paying good attention to the spoken English of their students.

On the part of the students, students should try to learn and master the area of differences between the sound system of their mother tongue and the sound system of English language. They should also be conversant with the proper usage of the English language sounds. They should try to apply the proper pronunciation on English words whenever they are speaking. They should be a companion of their pronouncing dictionary.

Government should ensure that oral English is taught to the students and the examination at the end of the secondary school education should be made compulsory for all students with adequate implementation by the Government.

Finally, the Government should provide language laboratory and other equipment to facilitate good teaching and learning of oral English.


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