What is Mother Tongue Influence?
Learning a second language is not always easy. It is already a challenge to have to think about grammar, rules, and pronunciation, but it becomes more difficult when your primary language is influencing you.
So what can be done to reduce this influence?
You can reduce it by understanding where your primary language is coming from. The way you process the language and the level of language awareness can make you better equipped to start reducing the influence.
Since childhood, you have been speaking in your mother tongue ( may it be Hindi, Bengali, Bhojpuri, Malayalam, or Tamil). Your tongue is accustomed to rolling in a certain way. This is the reason, the way you pronounce certain words and the accent is influenced by your mother tongue.
Problems faced when you have Mother Tongue Influence
It’s okay when you have a little effect of MTI on your English. Your mother tongue is your first language and you have been speaking that your entire life. MTI becomes a problem only when you are not able to pronounce words correctly and becomes less understandable.
MTI becomes a problem when you have to speak in front of a wider audience. It is important to have a standard accent so everyone understands and engages with you.
And this way the mother-tongue influence not only affects your English but also your confidence. That feeling of embarrassment commonly emerges when you need to speak in public.
Some other effects of mother tongue influence are –
- Slow career/academic growth.
- The inability to speak English clearly and confidently.
- Fear of speaking in public
How can you neutralize MTI?
There are certain exercises that can help you to neutralize your mother tongue if you are consistent –
- Correct pronunciation with help of a mentor
It is true that you can work on your accent by yourself but the probability of improving will be very low. The first reason is that your habits and speech patterns are so natural to you that most of the time you wouldn’t even realize that something is off or you are speaking wrong. So in that situation, you need someone to point out whenever you are going wrong.
The second reason is that changing something as established as native language speech patterns is an extremely difficult task simply because it is a very old habit that has strongly solidified. It may happen that you will fall back on your default speech patterns again and again. And at that time, you will need someone to point out your mistakes every time and force you to not slip back to your original speech patterns.
- Speak English words regularly
Just like you do other things in your life as a habit. Make a habit of speaking English words regularly. First, listen to the word in its actual tone carefully. In the initial stage, this could be difficult, but as you keep talking, you will certainly keep improving on your word usage. I will always advise you to record the session and listen to what your mentor says and how words are used.
- Learn correct intonation and English rhythm
The biggest disadvantage of having a strong mother tongue influence is speaking with the wrong intonation and rhythm and others will have a hard time understanding you. So you have to practice in such a way that others understand you.
Watch this video to know more about the exercises for neutralizing your Mother tongue’s influence on English.
Perfection is an unrealistic goal, but there are certainly ways to increase our fluency when speaking English. The techniques above should help you do that. So put them to use, keep practicing, and we can all work on reducing our mother tongue’s influence while speaking English.
If you are looking for one on one guidance to help you neutralize your mother tongue influence. Download the EngVarta app and connect with English Experts. EngVarta is an English Learning App where you can practice English with live English experts.