Language transfer has become an inevitable problem being faced by Nigerian speakers of English Language. Two or more languages will be said to be in contradiction if they are used alternatively by the same person. In a situation where one has to learn a language, there is usually the tendency to transfer habit from the first language to the second. One can hardly say that, he uses one language without mixing it with another language in his day to day interaction.
Background of the Study
The focus of this work is to look at the influence of language transfer on students speaking skills i.e. language transfer on the pronunciation of English words by Nigerian speaker of English, a case study of three (3) secondary school in Ijero Local Government Area of Ekiti State. The schools were randomly selected to determine the level of interference occurring in the use of language among secondary school students and how this language transfer influences the spoken form or speaking skills of these students.
Nitschke et al (2009) refer to Language Transfer as; “when speaker’s or writer’s applying knowledge from their second language but it can occur in any situation where someone does not have a native level command of a language as when translating into second language”.
According to Olagoke (2010), Transfer” can also be seen or define as, “The movement or shift of some linguistic or speed habit it from one language to another.”
In essence to this language transfer usually occur in the pronunciation of a particular speaker of a particular language when such a person does not poses adequate characteristics features of that second language like that of first language, for example, in Nigeria, English has the status of a second language and is used as official language. According to Olagoke (2010), English is “in fact the language of science and technology, a passport to Educational advancement and prestigious employment, the language of commerce, trade and administration and a means of national and international communication”. It is an important language of study in any tertiary institution in the country or even in securing a white collar job.
However, English language is not an indigenous language or mother tongue. One must be grounded in basic skills of this language before one can communicate well either in written or spoken forms. So, when the speaker of a particular language comes across some sounds which do not occur in its language, what such a person do is to substitute those sound that occur in its language to those that do not occur. The importance of this is to create and enable possibility for smooth and effective communication.
Equally, this research work will look into the cause of language transfer among Nigerian students. It has become part and parcel of Nigerian speakers of English language that whenever they are speaking or pronouncing English words, the features of their language would definitely affects pronunciation of English words, and this really affects the communicative competence of Nigerian students because, majority of this Semantic Transfer: Some items in Nigerian English are present in native English, but the concept they expresses in the former are absent in the latter e.g. Olu’s wife (suggesting polygamy).
Statement of the Problem
The problem of the influence of first language (Li) on the target language or the second language is what the researcher sees as the main problem among secondary school students in Nigeria.
Particularly, the influence of Yoruba language on the speaking form of English language among students of secondary schools as being the major concern of this work. It is usually common among secondary school student that whenever they are communicating with one another in their various schools, transferring of Yoruba language element into English language is usually difficult for secondary school students in Nigeria to pronounce. Thus, easier for them to pronounce a according to their mother tongue but not according to their received pronunciation.