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Topic Description



1.1     Background of the Study

If the question “what is language? Is asked, it has many senses and can be variously defined. It can be language of a particular field like science, humanity just to mention few. It can also be the animal language, sign language and many other types of languages.

Humanity language especially spoken dominates them all. Human language is natural. According to Adeboye Chis experiences and thoughts”

In Adeboyo’s words above, human language is one out of many by which a person’s experiences and thought can be organized. This supports the many senses that language has. And also, without language, (spoken) thoughts will never be born and experiences of life will be wasted because no one will be able to learn from them. Communication is the major bridge that links the whole world.

Communication is a crucial factor in the society at large and there is pieces of evidence that prove this. The global village and the internet prove this among others.

Language whether written, spoken, sign or through any means is a tools for communication and English language, out of many languages of the world has emerged the most used language all over the world.

The global village use this language (English) and it stands to be the language of the net.

English language accords respect and pride to its speakers but some have been left with the effective use of this language especially in the countries where the language  (English) is not the mother tongue or the first language one comes in contact with, for instance in countries like Nigeria,  Ghana and many others.

The language teachers, the broadcasters and few others have been left with the duty of speaking the correct version of English language in Nigeria.

And if this proof is true, these categories of people should speak error free English. However, it is unfortunate that some of our broadcasters still goof on air and this distorts communication. In the light of the above, this research is out to work on the use of language in English newscast under the little “mother tongue interference in English newscast in Nigeria”: A case of recorded NTA News.

1.2     The Research Problem

This work knows that some issues that have become problems in our media houses have been handled by some scholars. For instance, Medubi (2007) and Okoye (2007). Both of them dwelt more on the problem confronting the press in Nigeria but not directly as this work will handle it. No one has really worked on how mother tongue interference distorts communication in our media house in Nigeria. This will look into this problem and will try to proffer solutions.

1.3     Research Question

In handling the research problem above, this research will focus its attention on this question: How much does mother tongue interference distorts communications in our media houses in Nigeria?

1.4     Research Purpose

The purpose of this research is to achieve some set goals.

Firstly, this research is to further enlighten the media on the importance of Standard English.

Secondly, this research is to also help the second language teachers. Since they are the foundation layer of all learners and when a foundation learner is solid, anything built on it will stand erect.

Lastly, this research will be useful for the media and the second speakers of the English language on how to produce sounds of English that will be free from mother tongue interference.

1.5     Scope of the study

This work will focus on mother tongue interference in English newscast” Different authors have dealt with this topic from different perspectives.

Hoffmann (1991) identified four major types of mother tongues interference in English.

  1. Interference at the phonological level
  2. Interference at the grammatical level.
  3. Interference at the lexical level
  4. Interference in spelling

Alabi (2007) also identified three types of mother tongue interference in English which are:

Phonological interference, lexical interference and grammatical interference.

This research will concentrate on the phonological level of mother tongue interference because it deals mainly with speech (Day to day conversation).

1.6     Justification

This research topic “phonological interference in television Newscast in Nigeria” is important because the problem is obvious in almost all the media house in Nigeria.

Some authors have outlined the problems confronting our media in Nigeria but few have given us solutions.

An author like Okoye (2007) outlined the problem of the press in Nigeria but did not give solutions to such problems. And this research is set to look into the problems  and proffer solutions to them with top priority given to the phonological aspect.


1.7     Definition of Some Terms

Mother Tongue/First Language (LI)

Mother tongue also called the first language with in hi/her environment. Mother tongue is slightly different from the first language. Mother tongue is the language of the parents especially the father while the first language is the language of the environment.

The child’s mother tongue can be his/her first language and it may not also be. For instance, an Igbo child grows up in Kano State where the language in such environment is “Hausa” the Igbo child will conveniently speak, “Hausa” because of his/her environment.

1.8     Second Language (Target language)

A second language (L2) is that which exists side by side with the indigenous languages in a bilingual or multilingual situation. It is usually an official language and as such enjoys a high status within the nation. A second language can be the fourth or the third language to be acquired but as long as someone has a language before learning another, it will be referred to as the second language or the target language.

1.9     News

Danuta (1998, :4) says

News is a late middle word that means “tidings” New information of recent events. Even if we accept this definition as a useful description of what newspaper delivers. A more useful definition might be information about recent events that are of interest to sufficiently large groups, or that may affect the lives of a sufficiently large group.

1.10   Phonology

Akmajian (2001, :109) etal says “Phonology is the sub-field of linguistics that studies the structure and systematic patterning of sound of human language”.

In his word, phonology is used in two ways. The first one describes the sounds of a language and the rules governing the use of those sounds. While the second refers to the part of the general theory of human language that is concerned with the universal properties of natural language sound system.


Since language and man are not the same and they cannot be separated, problems will always arise from the two angles. Solution must also be provided to such problems in order to have effective communication in the society.


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