What is Mother Tongue Influence (MTI)?

Mother Tongue Influence is known as the habit of non-native speakers that modifies a certain non-native language with phonetics and vocabulary of their mother tongue.

Lets take examples from different parts of India to explain what MTI does to your language. 

A very popular take was filmed in a hit movie, where a Gujju character refers to the hall of his house pronouncing it as 'hole'. This is the most common tendency of the people hailing from Gujarat to pronounce the English sound 'aw' as 'o'.

Taking another example of South Indians, they pronounce M as 'yemm' or N as 'yenn'. So if they want to say the word anything, they'd probably pronounce it like 'yennithing'.

Punjabis too have their own MTI on words, like Canada becomes 'Kannedda", and Support becomes 'Ssport'.

Bengalis might praise you by saying 'bhairy bhairy good', whereas they actually might've meant very very good.

I don't say everyone in India suffers from MTI, but these are the typical examples from which a listener can assume where a person might be coming from, and that is not how you should speak any language.

However skilled you are at communication, MTI generally fails to impress the listener. In turn, it lowers your confidence to speak English in front of other. The reasons why a person has MTI are:

1. They haven't been in a proper English environment, making them hear and learn wrong pronunciations.

2. They haven't spoken enough to know how they pronounce words. Sometimes they themselves are surprised with their pronunciations.
3. There hasn't been much help available to get them corrected when they pronounce anything wrongly.

MTI can be reduced through patience and practice. You don't need to sound like the Americans or the British in order to qualify as an English speaker. Listening to correct English, and asking questions to a confidant can help you switch to a neutral accent which is more widely known as the 'Indian accent'.

Remember, you are only skilled in a non-native language, when a listener cannot guess what your mother tongue is.
What is Mother Tongue Influence (MTI)? What is Mother Tongue Influence (MTI)? Reviewed by Devanshi on February 02, 2016 Rating: 5

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