MTI and English

 

MTI refers to Mother Tongue Influence. To start with, MTI is not only a problem faced by Indians but is a problem faced by people all across the globe, except native English speakers.

The basic reason behind this problem is we are all habituated to speak and listen to our mother tongue right from the time we take birth and our ears get habituated to it.  As babies these are just sounds. We begin to repeat those sounds just as we hear them. We keep repeating them and slowly start to associate them with various things like names, animals, places, things, feelings etc. and thus we begin to speak our mother tongue. English too is a set of sounds. But many of us find it difficult as we are unfamiliar with those sounds.

To start with, when we try to speak English through our mother tongue, it naturally influences what we say. For instance, in some south Indian languages ‘el’ is pronounced as ‘yel’. In some north Indian languages, words never start with certain consonants. Hence, many speakers pronounce ‘school’ as ‘ischool’. These MTI issues often carry over and influence when we try to speak English.

 At Engmates we continuously strive to help speakers get rid of this issue. We encourage students to approach English as just another set of sounds. Watch movies and English programmes to understand how native speakers speak the language. We motivate the students to speak regularly and make them aware of their pronounciation issues and accordingly chalk out ways to improve their speech as each individual has a different set of problems.

Its easy and simple but needs prolonged practice:

·         Find your weak spots like ‘ss’ sound or ‘sh’ sounds or like those

·         Use some tongue twisters

·         Speed read newspapers and English write-ups

·         Watch videos regularly and pick up the sounds

·         Repeat words like the way native speakers do

·         Pick up the nuances of the language – hear how native speakers respond to everyday situations – express shock or glee, sympathy or anger

Slowly you will begin to discern the finer aspects of the language and effortlessly speak the language.