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Minimizing Mother Tongue Influence In English Speaking
Mother tongue influence or MTI means the impact of the way your first language is spoken on the second language you are trying to learn. For us, it means effect of our mother tongue on the way we speak English. So, when you see someone speaking English with a heavy Bengali or Punjabi or Telugu accent, you know the person has an MTI problem.
Why does MTI Happen?
If till an advanced age, the only language we speak is our mother tongue, a lot of the speech patterns get set really hard in our brain.
Every language as its own specific way words are pronounced.
Each language has peculiar sounds specific to it. If we start speaking more than one language from early childhood, we easily retain the flexibility of uttering sounds from different language systems. Our brain can be easily trained for different sounds from different languages. But if we do not receive that training in our childhood, our brains get accustomed to the sounds on only one language and at a later stage it becomes pretty difficult to train the brain for a totally different sound system needed for the second language.
Essentially, bilingual kids do not face the MTI problem in general because their brains have been trained in the flexibility of two or more language systems and they are able to easily speak two languages without errors.
It is believed that MTI is a training problem. A student's brain and vocal system have been trained in a certain way that makes it difficult for him to suddenly open himself to a totally different set of sounds and words. The habits and speech patterns are rooted strongly in the learner’s mind and it takes sustained effort to remove the MTI problem.
The students are required to practice speaking the new sounds that first makes them comfortable with the new sounds and then habituates them. Continuous repeated practice breaks old set patterns and builds new sound and speech patterns plus trains the brain in the flexibility required to handle two parallel sound and speech systems.
Can I Solve MTI on my Own?
Theoretically yes but the probabilities will be very low. The habit and speech patterns are so intrinsic and natural to you that most of the times you would not realize some crumbs of the MTI problem in your English speaking. You need someone to point out whenever you are slipping down that road. Changing something as ingrained as native language speech patterns is an extremely difficult task simply because it is a very old habit strongly solidified. You are inclined to fall back on to your default speech patterns again and again. You need someone to point it out every time and force you to not slip back to your original speech patterns.
Can MTI ever be solved?
MTI is solvable but an extremely complex problem. It needs strong commitment and intense effort for 4-6 weeks. Once you carry the new speech patterns and get used to them, slowly, those sounds will become a part of your system. Once the new habit starts taking root, the amount of effort required will reduce and once it is solidified enough, the effort required is very minimal...
For more info https://voiceskills.org/
VOICE Research and Training Institute is the brain child of KALVI Higher Education and Research Institute, Madurai, South India with the expertise and knowledge to empower learners in the communicative skills of the English Language running through the Industrial Hub of a community that influences a country at large.
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