2.0       Review of Related Literature
            To place this study on the right position, the current literature of the topic by other scholars were carefully reviewed. Their opinions were carefully reviewed. Their opinions were respected and appropriately cited.
            The literature review are organized under the following sub-headings:
1.         The concepts of mother tongue language.
2.         The origin of English language in Nigeria.
3.         Types and features of problems facing the pupils in learning English language.
4.         Summary of review of related literature.

2.1       The Concept of Mother Tongue Language
            Before we talk of the concept of mother tongue language, let us first ex-ray the origin of human language. The divine theory of human language dates back to the creation of Adam and Eve. God gave them the power to create language. We are informed in the book of Genesis Chapter 2 vs 20-end “whatever the man (Adam) called every living creature, that was its name”. Over centuries, in different nations, all over the world, language is central to man’s identity. According to miller, (1962) man is language and language is man. He maintains that man can assert himself through language with declaration, “I speak, this I am”. But one man cannot produce language; therefore language requires a community of people. Henry (1950) a linquist defines language as the expression of ideas by means of speech sound combined into words. Encyclopedia Britannic maintains that language consists of vocal sounds to which meaning have been assigned by cultural connotation carried out by a particular language community. This is why the very first language a child comes in contact with becomes the mother tongue language. Therefore, the mother tongue language in this study is the language of a child’s immediate environment, the language of nuclear family of the child and the language upon which any other language follows. In this study, Ibo language with typical Izzi dialect becomes the mother tongue most of the student under this study.

2.2       The Historical Background of English Language in Nigeria
            In Oko’s memo the historical background of English language in Nigeria record shows that before colonial administration, the planting of Christianity and the spread of formal education, a type of English called Pidgin English was along the coast of Niger Delta by the Portuguese and English traders between the Europeans and the natives in their trade in local goods and later slaves.
At the end of the slave trade, the colonization of Nigeria began first, with declaration of the northern and southern protectorate in 1914, which brought in the geopolitical entity called Nigeria. In this marriage, English language becomes instrument for communication and means of expression. At the end of 1960, English language continued to play a bonding common service to the multi lingual, multi-ethnic groups in Nigeria. It is for both integrative and instrumental values of English language in the school system. Those areas that the mother tongue languages of the students are to be exposed and remedies sought for.

2.3       Types and Features of Problems facing the students in learning English Language
            English language has often been described as a second language. As students learn and use English language, they encounter some problems. According to Ijeoma (2005), the major problem of language learning and usage is that of interference. This occurs when the features of one language tend to show up in the other language. Another aspect of problem encountered by learners involves the transfer of certain elements of the mother tongue into the structure of English language. According to Little (1981), the learner uses his previous mother tongue language experience as a means of organizing the second language data. Ene (2005) states phonological problem of users and learners of English language by students to include wholesale transfer of characteristics of their mother tongue into the sound characteristics of the English they produce in speech. They tend to produce English language sound with equivalents in Nigerian language. He also maintains that local language use tone to differentiate words, meaning and utterances but English uses intonation to differentiate meaning and attitude. Ogayi (2005), lists the following as the areas where the mother tongues language interferes in the learning and teaching of English language. The areas are syntax or the grammatical structure, which involves the transfer of constructions and expression from the mother tongue language into English language. Lexis or the choice of words and expression where the learner tries to find existing English words to describe the local setting which in most cases do not fit properly.
            According to Ogeyi (2010), code mixing and code switching are areas where learners have problems in the teaching and learning of English language. In code mixing, the speaker starts conversation in his mother tongue and then inserts at some points in the sentence English language and later goes back to the mother tongue.

2.4       Summary of review of related literature
            From the review of related literature, the study noted as follows;
            The position of the mother tongue language as the first language of the child has placed all other language learnt by the child at the second and third positions as the case may be. And because of mother tongue position, it interferes into any second language learnt by the child. Therefore, the position of the mother tongue makes the learning of English language difficult for the students. It is a fact that English language was forced upon us by our colonial masters but its end product is playing a very vital functions in language communication among Nigerians. It is the language of instruction, administration and communication.

Research Method
This chapter discusses the procedure by which the research was systematically carried out. These procedures includes; the design of the study, area of the study, population of the study, sample and sampling techniques, instrument for data collection, validity of the instrument, reliability of the instrument, method of data collection and method of data analysis.

3.1       Design of the Study
            In view of Nwana (1981), Abah (1986) and Sclittle (1974), research design is plans that specify how data for the research should be collected and analysed during the conduct of the research. This study is designed to establish the opinions of students and teachers on the effect of mother tongue interference in English language. Because of the type of this particular study simple descriptive survey design is implored.

3.2       Area of the study
            The area of study covers  Amagu Izzi in Abakaliki Local Government Areas of Ebonyi State. The research was carried out in secondary schools in the area under study. They include, Girls High School Abakaliki, Abakaliki High School Presco, Nnodo Boys Secondary School Abakaliki, Government Technical College Abakaliki and Urban Secondary School Abakaliki, a total of five secondary schools.

3.3       Population of the study
            The population used for this study was drawn from the five schools. In each of the five schools, twenty teachers were randomly selected for the study using a total population of one hundred respondents.

3.4       Sample and Sampling Techniques
            According to Osuala (1987), random sampling is the method of drawing portion or sample of a population which has an equal chance of being selected. The sample of the population used for this study was one hundred (100) respondents. The techniques used for sampling was simple random sampling to select the number of teachers for the study.

3.5             Instrument for Data Collection
The researcher used structured questionnaire items for collecting data for the study. The questionnaire items were designed in a Yes or No format so that the respondent is expected to give his or her opinions by selecting from given options. The questionnaire was an open ended type to enable the respondent tick the best option. Interview was also another instrument used for data collection.

3.6       Validity of the Instrument
            Borg et al. (1988), defined validity as the process of finding out the degree to which research or test is measured and  what it is supposed to measure.
            To determine the validity of the questionnaire items, the researcher presented the structured items to an expert in the field of English language in Ebonyi STATE University Abakaliki to study and make correction, contributions or modifications where necessary. The expert pruned the forty two items to thirty. His contributions and modifications were adopted and used as basis for the present status of the instrument. This content validity approach was necessary to enable the researcher establish that the instrument measured what it was supposed to measure.

3.7       Reliability of the Instrument
            For the purpose of determining the reliability of the instrument used for the study, a trial test was carried out and the instrument was administered to twenty teachers in Ebonyi Local Government Area. Two weeks later, the questionnaires were administered to the same group to determine the reliability using the first and second scores. The two sets of the teachers ‘opinion scores approximately gave statistical equal mean. The reliability obtained was one. The value was considered high enough to permit the conclusion that the instrument was reliable.

3.8       Method of Data Collection
            The researcher employed direct delivery technique in the administration on the questionnaires. The questionnaires were administered personally by the researcher to the respondents and collected back by her. From the one hundred and fifty questionnaires that were shared among the five schools one hundred were returned.

3.9       Method of Data Analysis
            The researcher used percentages as the statistical means of assessment. The figures were converted into percentages and arranged in tables under the following headings.
Following headings:
(a)       Number issued
(b)       Number “Yes” and percentage
(c)       Number “No” and percentage

4.0       Presentation and Data Analysis
            This chapter deals with the analysis of the data collected. The data are presented on the basis of the three research questions that guided the study. The presentations are:
4.1       Research Question One
            Do the students use their mother tongue Language more often than English Language in the school?
(a)       “Yes” (98)
(b)       “No”               (2)
Table one
The table above indicates that majority of the respondents, (Ninety eight, representing 98%) agree that the students use more of their mother tongue than the English Language in the school while only two of the respondents representing 20% have different view.
4.2       Research Question Two
Do the students manifest areas where the mother tongue interferes into the English Language as they speak and write?
(a)       “Yes” (98)
(b)       “No”               (2)
Table Two
Data in table two shows that ninety-one respondents, representing 91% are of the opinion that as the students speak and write English Language, the mother tongue Language interferes into the English Language. While nine respondents representing 9% are of the contrary.
4.3       Research Question three
Are there means of correcting such mother tongue language interference into English Language?
(a)       “Yes” (86)
(b)       “No”               (14)
Table three
            Table three above proves that eighty-six respondents, representing 86% affirm that the mother Language interference into English Language has some remedies while fourteen of the respondents representing 14% disagree with the notion.

5.0       Major Finding And Interpretation
            Based on the data analysed in chapter four, the study made the following findings:
1.         The mother tongue language is used more often than the English Language in the school system. That even teachers use the mother tongue language in the course of teaching and learning in the class.
2.         The students encounter the transfer of certain elements of the mother tongue into the structure of English Language. The students transfer some characteristics of their mother tongue language they produce in speech. Areas of syntax lexis and structure, code mixing and code switching interfere seriously in the students teaching and learning of English language.

5.1       Interpretation of Result
            According to table one, 98% is of the opinion that mother tongue language is used more frequent than the English Language although the National Policy on Education (1981) stipulates the use of English Language as medium of instruction in the secondary school. The English language is taught as a subject in the schools. It is evident from the study that the mother tongue is almost the language of the enviroment in the school system. Teachers and students use the tongue at with in the school setting.
            Statistics on table two show that 91% of the respondents agree that the following language areas pose problems to students learning English Language. These areas includes:
Interference of the mother tongue language into English Lanaguage, phonology or the sound of the language. Syntax or the grammatical structure of the language, lexis or the choice of words and expressions, code mixing and code switching. These areas were indicated by the respondents to constitute problems by students learning English Language.
            Available records form data presented in table three, show that 86% of the respondents is of the opinion that qualified teachers, good and adequate textbooks, good teaching, good and adequate textbooks, good teaching methods, audio visual film strip projectors, 16mm and 8mm film strip projectors, radio, television e.t.c are essential English Language teaching and learning materials that will improve the teaching and learning process if provided.

5.2       Conclusion And Recommendations
            In view of the results of the data collected and analysed, the following conclusion are drawn.
1.         The students’ enviroment influences the acquisition of the standard English.
2.         The content of English language in secondary schools should be more practical more emphasis need to be placed on Oral performance and application rather than on theory to check the problems associated with mother tongue influence.
3.         Teachers should be exposed to the differences between the standard English and the Nigerian form of English through capacity building programme workshops, seminars etc which should be organized regularly by the ministry of Education.
4.         Suitable textbooks on written and spoken aspects of English language should be introduced into the teaching and learning activities to enhance competence in the use of English language.

5.3       Summary
            In summary, the researcher tried to look into the secondary education curriculum in English Language with particular emphasis on Amagu Izzi in Abakaliki to find the implication of mother tongue influence on the student. A review of related literature was also used which served as frame work.
            The research also interpreted and discussed some findings made with the and of three research questions.
            Based on the findings the researcher made some recommendations to improve the proficiency of English language among the teachers and students. The researcher hereby hopes that the recommendations made would be implemented so that pronunciation, vocabulary and construction of both the teachers and students will be characterized by freshness, vigour, dexterity and appropriateness both in speech and in writing.

Ugwu (2003) Test of Orals for school’s and Colleges. Benin city: Aubuk press.
Ogayi. M.C. (2005). English Language in use wisdom publish. L.T.D Abakaliki.
Eka, D. (1992). Development communication skills in English language, A book of Reading.
Federal Republic of Nigeria constitution (1998) Ijeoma, O. (2005) General English language communication skills: Wisdom pub-Abakaliki
National policy on Education (1981)
Ozigi, A.O. (1981) A Hand book on School administer and Management Macmillan Nig. Lagos.
Taiwo, c.O., (1982) The Nigeria Education System: Thomas Nelson Nig. L.T.D.
The Holy Bible Genesis chapter 2
World Bank Report (2001) Quality of Graduate by Nigerian University.

Imo State University,
Faculty of Education
Department of English


The searcher is a student of the above University carrying out a research on “the effect of mother tongue interference in English Language” among. Students in Amagu Izzi in Abakaliki. Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
            Your school is one of the schools chosen for this research work. You are humbly requested to assist the researcher by filling the attached questionnaire items.
            Your are firmly assured that all the information supplied will be treated in absolute confidence.

Yours faithfully,

Please, answer “yes” or “No”, tick (x) or fill the blank spaces provided.
1.         Name of Teacher (optional)______________________
2.         Class taught__________________________________
(i)        TC II  
(ii)       NCE
(iii)     OND
(iv)      HND
(v)       B.ED
3 area of specialization________________________
4 subject taught______________________________
5.         Do you have enough time for the teaching of English Language? Yes                       No
6.         Do you teach English language everyday Yes                No
7.         Do you find teaching English language very difficult? Yes      NO
8.         Do you students find you English period interesting
            Yes                 No
9.         Your student speak their native language more often in the class than English?      Yes          No
10.       Do your students mix up English Language with their native language          Yes                 No
11.       Which are of English do your students experience more problems.
(a)       Morphology
(b)       Phonology
(c)       Phonetics
(d)       Syntax
(e)       Semantics
(f)        Discourse
(g)       Lexis
(h)       Pragmatism
12.       Which areas do you give extra attention?
13.       How often do you give them take home assignment?
14.       Suggest areas that need improvement in the English curriculum.
15.       Suggest means of improving the standard of English language in the area
1.         Girls’ High School, Abakaliki
2.         Abakaliki High School (PRESCO)
3.         Government Technical College, Abakaliki
4.         urban Modern Secondary School, Abakaliki
5.         NNodo Boys Secondary School Abakaliki

Intricacies Of Pidgin English

IDGIN English in Nigeria is said to have originated in the 19th century, at about the same period the British came into the regions with their religion as well as their language, and education. It is assumed that prior to this, every ethnic group had its own local language which was used for all forms of communication. As such, attempts to communicate with people with different languages often had the need of an interpreter, to stand as a go-between. When the English language was introduced by the British, same people who brought together the colonies and regions that make up what we now know as Nigeria, wrong attempts at the language brought about the wrong English, which later became known as the Pidgin or Broken English.
Other versions of its origin describe the pidgin language as English based and creole language, originally used as a language of commerce between speakers of different languages for the reason of slave trade among British slave merchants and local African traders in order to facilitate their commercial exchanges, relations, and as such having a link to different languages especially the Jamaican Creole. Similarities such as “pikin” (Nigerian Pidgin for “child”) and “pikney” (or “pikiny”, Jamaican Patois for “child”), “Sabi” means “to know” or “to know how to” just as “to know” is “saber” in Portuguese and Spanish.and “chook” (Nigerian Pidgin for “poke” or “stab”) which corresponds with the Jamaican Patois word “jook”, further demonstrate the linguistic relationship.
Nigerian Pidgin is mostly used in informal conversations as it has no status as an official language. Nigerian Standard English is used in politics, the Internet and some television programs. Notwithstanding, it has now grown to become an independent language of communication (both written and oral), both within and outside the country, with different variations depending on the location one finds oneself. What this implies for multi-ethnic Nigeria is a general language for communication irrespective of ethnic background, and without the need for an interpreter—thus making itself into the status of an unofficial lingua-franca.
Each of the 250 or more ethnic groups in Nigeria can converse in this language, though they usually have their own additional words. For example, the Yorùbás use the words Ṣe and Abi when speaking Pidgin. These are often used at the start or end of an intonated sentence or question. For example, “You are coming, right?” becomes Ṣe you dey come? or You dey come, abi? Another example, the Igbos added the word Nna also used at the beginning of some sentences to show camaraderie. For example, Man, that test was very hard becomes Nna, that test hard no be small.
Even though the language has different variations including those of Warri, Sapele, Benin, Port-Harcourt, Lagos especially in Ajegunle, and Onitsha, it is known to be most widely spoken in the oil rich Niger-Delta where most of its population speak it as their first language.
Some adept speakers of the ‘Broken English’ have ascribed their love for the language to its auditory values. Some have gone as far as describing it as sweeter to the ears, than the straight and correct English vocabulary which they say ‘puts strain on the speaker’. For such persons, conversing in pidgin is innate and comes easily to them; ‘they think, breath and eat the pidgin’. An added advantage is the fact that even in a strange land, this language as a strong weapon, breaks through communication barriers.
Some others simply love the language because of its expression value. One of such persons, Miss Oghenekaro Omoh, a 300 level Accounting student of Anambra State University, stated simply that the force of some emotions cannot be adequately conveyed in correct English as it would lose its momentum, force and passion. To her, emotions especially ones of anger, vexation and extreme joy cannot be explained sufficiently when one is being ‘all proper and formal’.
“compare ‘I am angry’ with ‘I just dey vex. My body dey pepper me’, and you get a clear picture of it. If I use the first phrase, the person I am telling will just regard it as normal anger, but I go as far as saying ‘body dey pepper me’, he or she knows that at that stage, I can take any action, right or wrong. The sane applies for ‘I am happy’ and ‘belle dey sweet me”, the Ughelli-born student explained.
She added further that when meeting someone for the first time, initiating a conversation in pidgin was the best way to make him or her feel at home. To her, it is not a language to be used in a formal or a do-or-die situation, hence the person knows that he can relax and feel at home. The formal and proper English, according to her, has tendencies to keep one unnecessarily tense and prim.
zHe added that before long, he discovered that apart from using pictures to explain his way through the topics, adopting the use of pidgin was also a viable method. According to him, the students were also not well versed with the pidgin language, but with the method of inserting one or two words from their native language alongside the pictures, understanding for them became much easier.
“Different corps members would be posted to such villages every year, and they would no doubt encounter similar challenges and come up with different ways of handling them. However, if these students had learnt basic communication in pidgin, irrespective of variations each new teacher would have something in common with them, and they can build further from there. There is no need to erase English language from the syllabus, just add Pidgin, for the purpose of easy communication and unity in the country” Mr Isiokwu said.
However, Mrs. Rosemary Okolie, a teacher for over 17 years toed a different line, as she opined that the excessive use of pidgin languag e in schools by both students and teachers, had contributed to the consistently dropping standard of students performance both in internal and external examinations. Mrs. Okolie, who is the proprietress of one of the private primary schools in Asaba, insisted that Nigeria cannot take an independent stand on the issue, as the students would still have to undergo external examinations before being awarded certificates. According to her, the pidgin, even though good for basic communication, should be thoroughly seperated from the Nigerian educational system, which is already faced with mammoth challenges.

Amidst the numerous values ascribed to the Pidgin English, it remains a fact that it is still yet to attain the envious status of being the official language of any country, and one is yet to see an external examination or a degree awarding institution where the students are examined with the pidgin language.
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