This study is designed to examine the effect of mother tongue on the written composition of student in Senior Secondary School. The study investigated if mother tongue is solely the cause of the students’ woeful performance in written composition in senior secondary schools. The subjects for the study were one hundred male and female students drawn from various schools in Yewa North Local Government. Using simple percentage descriptive statistic, the research questions raised were analysed. The finding reveals that mother tongue influences the students’ written composition in English language in senior secondary school. Also, mother tongue is one of the factors contributing to students’ poor performance in written composition. Other factors are the student environment, lack of competent teacher, etc. The research therefore recommends the need to develop good language policies in schools that will encourage spoken English. Teachers should encourage learners to write regularly among others.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION 1.1 Background to the Study
Writing a composition is a complex activity that includes the mechanics of writing, including handwriting (or keyboarding, using an adaptive device, etc) spelling and the basics of language knowledge (i.e. word morphology, syntax and vocabulary).
Grammar is the study of the way the sentences of a language are constructed, morphology and syntax. Human are the only animals with true language including grammar and syntax. Grammar serves as a set of rules guiding English language (English Language is a world language). The coming of the British colonialist brought about the introduction of English language in Nigeria, therefore English occupies the status of a second language in Nigeria. English language has not only gain prominence in the country, it has also become the “lingua franca” in the country.
It becomes obvious that with the realization of the functions and purpose of English language, it has been observed that the mother tongue interferes tremendously in the use of the language (www.blogspot.com).
We can admit, as a theoretical ideal, the possibility of perfect bilingualism, defined as the full range of competence in both languages that a native monolingual speaker has is one. Perfect bilingualism, if it exists at all, is extremely rare because ‘it is rare for individuals to be in a position to use each language in a full range of situations and thus to acquire the requested competence. In case of far from perfect bilingualism, one language will be dominant and the other subordinate and it has been suggested that the use of the subordinate languages involves a process of translation from the dominant language at a fairly superficial, though not necessarily conscious, level of the psychological programming of utterances.
Dulay (1982), says “A constractive analysis hypothesis occurs where structure in the first language which are different from those in the second language produce errors reflecting the structure of first language”.
A situational change in the value of one of the variables that define interference may result in code-switching. For example two people conducting business in English in Nigeria might suddenly switch to Yoruba language or if they are fellow-members of the same ethnic group to a local language, when the topic of conversation changes from business proper to more personal matters (John Lyons, 1981).
Richard (1967), states “Errors are the result of interference in learning a second language from the habits of the first language”. Learners of English language as a second language in schools tends to face a lot of challenges because most of them transfer the rules of their first language to the second language which may not be applicable to learning. For example: A Yoruba man who says “I am here since Thursday” is imposing a Yoruba grammatical usage on Neighs. Children who come to school speaking a dialect that differs significantly from the standard, face a problem that speakers of the standard do not have. Much of the vocabulary and grammatical structure of the materials used to teach writing may be unfamiliar to them.
Mother tongue may interfere with the composition writing of the learners, if the learners of English language as a second language find it difficult to put into practice the rules of the language when constructing sentences.
Most schools are faced with the problems of training learners of English language to become competent in the language because of the early exposure to their first language which is their mother tongue. Some learners cannot deviate from the rules of their mother tongue, that is, why they transfer or mixing the rules when constructing sentences in their language.
John Lyons (1981) states that “the problems are particularly acute for the children of immigrants and other ethnic minorities. Torn between two culture, they may be imperfectly bilingual in two non-standard dialect”.
This study is therefore to determine the effect of mother tongue interference on written composition of students in selected senior secondary schools in Yewa North, Ogun State.
1.2 Statement of the Problems
The effect of mother tongue interference on written composition has persisted over the years. The problems of right construction of sentence with the use of appropriate phrases and clauses without transferring the rules of mother tongue depends on the need to use English language in our everyday communication. This has been observed to be deficient in our secondary school students, as they hardly make use of the language after the school hour. This has however constitute a problem as it is evident in the deficient observed in the usage of the language. It is therefore, the pre-occupation of this research work to find out how mother tongue interference has affected the use of written composition by the learners of English language.
1.3 Research Hypotheses
The study aim to provide answer to the following questions.
(1) Students environment does not have any significant role to play in learning of English as a second language.
(2) Early exposure of children to English language does not have any significant role to play in the performance of students in composition writing.
(3) There will not be any reflection of errors in the composition writing of SS2 students in English language.
1.4 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to investigate and determine the cause and effect of mother tongue interference on written composition of senior secondary school students.
1.5 Scope of the Study
This study is mainly centered on the effect of mother tongue on written composition in senior secondary schools using some selected schools in Yewa North Local Government.
1.6 Definition of Terms
Mother tongue: The language one first learned, the language one grew up.
Foreign language: Any language other than that spoken by the people of a specific place.
L1: The first language.
L2: The second language.
MT: Mother tongue.
SLA: Second Language Acquisition.
TL: Target Language.
GSP: Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling.
OTHER SIMILAR EDUCATION PROJECTS AND MATERIALS