Blog

Mother tongue interference in acquisition of second language : Hindrance eradication

English language has now earned a great esteem globally. It is revered in Indian society with lot of prestige and the language has been greatly worshipped in the official as well as social circle. Though English language has managed to find its position as one of the mandatory language in the curriculum of Indian academia yet it is hard to find emphasis on enhancement of the speaking skills in the average Indian classroom.It is a tell-tale fact that a second language learner will not be able to acquire the mechanism of oral competence without deliberate and meticulous effort on it. As a result, the learners are not able to develop this skill and hence lack confidence while conversing in English.

To further this, though articulation of individual sounds while teaching this language is addressed, teaching of pronunciation is not given much importance either. In regular Indian classrooms, the importance of native-like accent is not given due stress. An attributive cause to this could be that number of dialects found is so large that it is practically impossible to address all the accents in a classroom. This is serious challenge in the Indian classrooms. The phonetical aspects of English and its pronunciation in the Indian context needs to be consciously addressed to counter this challenge and to make native-like accent in Indian learners more plausible.

The importance of pronunciation in communication cannot be denied. Infact, it is as important as grammar and vocabulary. Yet, the evidence of mother tongue influence on English is very obvious and poignant. It manifests itself in the form of incorrect pronunciation.

Pronunciation error may be due to many issues. Ambiguity in comprehending correct connotation of a word, improper notion of phonetics and a general ineptness of the language could be the reason of mispronunciation. The most common reason is transfer or interference from the mother tongue. Generally, errors made in pronunciation are due to dichotomous existence of the phonological, semantical and syntactical aspects between the mother tongue and English. It is the great polarity between the languages that creates negative transfer of phonemic and lexical items leaving the learner in bewilderment and hence eschewing the target language.

The gravity of the situation cannot be undermined as the learners essentially pick up the accent directly from the perpetrators of education which is fraught with errors quite often and therefore learners are unable to acquire fluent oral competence.

Added to this is the challenge of the fossilized phonological aspect of the mother tongue of the learners that inhibits the acquisition of the pronunciation and sound system of the second language. This challenge can surely be met by using the mother tongue removal tool offered in good Digital Language Lab.

To eradicate this hindrance, sound patterns as which are likely to be confused and faltered be identified and drilled.. It has been realised that such activities when done in digital language labs, not only help eliminate the mother tongue influence, but also hasten the acquisition of the target language.