1.1 Introduction of the Background
This research is on the impact of the mother tongue in English language among Englishary school students in Oju local government, Benue State. Learning English language has been important to human beings from earliest historical times. The Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics states that “the Sumerians of the third millennium BC used bilingual tablets in Sumerian and Akkadian to educate their children, and compiled the world’s oldest known bilingual dictionaries. Bilingual tablets were used in ancient Egypt, and, in the Ptolemaic period, the upper classes in Egypt received their education in Greek. In the Hellenistic period, the majority of people in Asia Minor who could read and write did so in Greek, their English language. Until the fourth century BC, bilingual education in Greek and Latin was an important part of the curriculum for Roman children” (Simeons, 2001).
In line with this, Otagburuagu states that “English language learning could arise from a social or political factor. For instance, colonization, trade and commerce could create a conducive atmosphere for the development of a English language” (David, 2003). He continued by saying that “the colonization of Nigeria, Ghana etc by Britain must be seen as the primary factor that gives rise to the adoption of the English language as the English language in these countries. Multilingualism as well as the desire for social integration could give rise to English language learning too” (Otagburuagu, 2001). In support of this view, Verghese also states that “it is a historical accident that led to English taking deep roots in Canada, Australia and the United States” (Verghese, 2008). He further states that “history again has played a part in English being used widely in other countries in Africa and Asia. Those countries were the colonies of Great Britain, and since the day they came under Britain rule, English has been taught and used as a medium of communication there” (Verghese 2008).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Interference is the impact of one language, dialect or other linguistic features upon another’s phonology, grammar and vocabulary. In the course of using English as a English language, there is inter-lingual interference. That is, the impact of one language upon another’s phonology, grammar and vocabulary. The language which a group of people considered to be inhabitants of an area acquire in their early years and which normally becomes their natural instrument of thought and communication may interfere with the English language, and these interferences may manifest itself in any aspect of the language such as phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics. When an Igbo man for instance says; “I hear a smell” to mean “I perceive an odour” or when the Hausa man says “I am coming here yesterday” to mean “I came here yesterday; or also when the Igede man says “did you hear me” to mean “did you understand me?”; they transliterate the syntax of their respective mother- tongue into English Language. It is also a well known fact that Igbo learners’ interference problem is different from that of the Hausa and Yoruba learners’ and vice versa.
This research work, therefore, seeks to identify the ways in which the mother-tongue ‘Igede’ impacts the learning and Impact of the target language which in this study is the English language.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to investigate the impact of the mother- tongue ‘Igede’ on the learning and Impact of English among the junior Englishary school students of Oju local government area of Benue State, where Igede is an indigenous language and is mostly used in communication.
1.4 Research Questions
The research questions are as follows:
- Does phonology of Mother Tongue Impact on English Language
- How does syntax impact on English Language
- How does semantics impact on the use of Mother Tongue in English Language
The following hypothesis are used in this research:
- The phonology of Mother Tongue has no significant impact on English Language.
- The syntax of Mother Tongue has no impact on English Language.
- The semantics of Mother Tongue has no impact of English language.
1.6 Significance of Study
The significance of study include:
- Identify the phonology of Mother Tongue on English Language
- Investigate the syntax of Mother Tongue on English Language
- Examine the semantics of Mother Tongue on Englidh Language
1.7 Scope of the Study
The study will focus only on the Igedes’ people’s experience. It will focus on learner-users of English as a second language, taking note of its phonological, and lexical impact on English language. The study covers some Government schools located in Oju local government area where Igede is their indigenous language and the English language is usually learnt in school.
The population will be made up of junior secondary school students of JSS 1 and 2.
1.8 Operational Definition Of Terms
Phonology : The study of the speech sounds of a particular language.
Phonetics: The study of speech sounds, and how they are produced.
Semantics: The study of the meaning of words and phrases, used in a sentence.
Syntax: The manner in which words are put together, to form sentences.