Mother Tongue Influence

Our mother tongue is a language that we grew up speaking. Mother Tongue literally means the language our mother taught us / the language we spoke ever since childhood.

There is a popular saying in India, that either our dialect/language changes for every 50 miles. This means it is difficult for anybody to speak any single language in a standard dialect and accent, as all of us get habituated to certain accent and pronunciation influenced by the local people and English is no exception to this.

When our own language accent influences the other language (English)
This is what is called as Mother Tongue.

For E.g. ‘iskool’, ‘istudent’, ‘ismart’, ‘plezar’, ‘requesh’ and other such words. In fact, I got an idea to write on this topic only after a
a student told me that he wanted to speak ‘bhery phluent englis’.

Mother tongue influence on English language

This problem arises because of vernacular medium schools, which are a large number in India. Hence, majority of Indians suffer from this MTI.
Another reason could be that children are introduced to English at a 
later stage in childhood. A certain survey says that those children who begin to learn a second language in their childhood, learn it faster.

Whereas learning it at a later stage makes it difficult because by then the child has already internalized the sounds of their mother tongue and applies the same to their English, this is where the problem starts. Lastly, it could also be because of a lack of exposure to proper English pronunciation.

How To Eradicate It

It is generally difficult to get rid of something you have internalized. However, it is not impossible. You can get rid of it by investing time and effort into it: practice with dedication and you shall succeed!

Tips To Overcome Mother Tongue Influence

Practice tongue twisters to improve your focus while speaking English.

Read the text aloud and note down the words that you pronounce incorrectly to practice later.

Listen to podcasts to observe and understand the correct sound of each syllable.

Listen to an English news channel every day to improve pronunciation.

Watch English movies and listen to English songs to find out how the native speakers speak English.

Join Spoken English classes and have your trainer correct you on the spot while you speak.

Record yourself speaking English to find out which words you pronounce incorrectly.

In conclusion, I’d say we need not be ashamed of what we speak and how we speak. But, we need to neutralize our MTI in order to achieve a standard accent that will is universally accepted.

As you can see in the above lines there are words like “school” pronounced as “iskool” and “students” pronounced as “istudents”. The word “tell” is spoken as “tella”, the word “sing” is spoken as “singa”.These kinds of words are spoken mostly by either South Indians or some pockets in north India where their English language is heavily influenced by the local language.

So,hope the above information help you to overcome your MTI, All the best.

Vaishali Vuppala

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