How to Neutralise Mother Tongue Influence (MTI) while speaking English?

Hello English learners!

I have a very interesting and relatable topic to discuss today: How to neutralise mother tongue influence (MTI) while speaking English? It is interesting because most of us are unaware of the fact that at times we speak English like Punjabi, Gujarati, Telugu or Bengali. We usually blame dialects for this, especially when we hear the words like ‘see’ instead of ‘she’, ‘phonts’ instead of ‘fonts’, ‘veener’ instead of ‘winner’, ‘iskool’ instead of school, ‘understandabul’ instead of ‘understandable.’ After becoming aware of mistakes which we make while using English with interference of sounds from the mother tongue, we happen to lose our confidence when speaking English in public which may result into embarrassment or hatred for English language. Don’t you worry as this is not a serious problem and it can be overcome with the right practice.

How to neutralise mother tongue influence (MTI) while speaking English?

Mother tongue influence (MTI) means the impact of the usage of our mother tongue on the second language; for example, English. In other words, we can figure out the ethnicity/nationality of someone with the way he/she uses the dialects that interferes with English speaking. This is very common in India. The fact that impressive English speaking is key to good communication skills cannot be denied, and with grammar and vocabulary, pronunciation too is given equal weightage worldwide. However, the evidence of mother tongue influence is obvious, so this manifests in the form of incorrect pronunciation.

Why do people face MTI problem?

The biggest reason for MTI problem is the lack of importance given to pronunciation in most of the Indian schools because the number of dialects in India is too high; hence, it is very difficult to pick each one for research and neutralise it. So, it is considered a serious challenge faced by English teachers across India.

What can be done to overcome Mother tongue influence?

It might sound like a pipedream to practice and master the sounds of consonants and vowels (phonetics); however, it is not so. Here are some ways to get rid of mother-tongue influence while using English.

  • Well, reading Oxford dictionary is highly recommended to know the pronunciation of each word as the words are also spelled phonetically; e.g.: cuisine /kwɪˈziːn/.
  • Practicing tongue-twisters may also help in improving the pronunciation particularly of homophonic words, and to learn differentiate between the sound of consonants like ‘s-sound’, ‘f-sound’, etc.
  • Start watching English news on Star World, CNN, BBC if you haven’t started yet. Honestly speaking, I find this option quite boring, so I prefer watching English series from Netflix because I find it recreational and interesting. Undoubtedly, watching English news would be a great help as you would also improve your fluency by imitating the news reader.
  • Usage of Artificial intelligence eg: SIRI, google assistant for detection of the words. You may have to keep pronouncing the same word until Siri or google assistant detects it and bingo! There you go!
  • Read aloud in English for 15-20 minutes daily and record your voice. I prefer to read aloud from newspaper or magazines. Research has proven the fact that it takes at least three months to develop strong mouth muscles to speak a new language.

So, use all the tips to prevent the interference of regional language while using English. Feel free to reach out to me. All the best!

The students who are appearing for PTE at Aspire Square tend to get an extra practice of the question types of Speaking module such as Read alouds, repeat sentences, re-tell lectures and describe image with accurate pronunciation and intonation; thus, making us No. 1 PTE Coaching Centre in Ahmedabad, Surat and Vadodara.

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