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INTERFERENCE AND THE NATIVISATION OF ENGLISH IN NIGERIA: A study of HAUSA language

Project topic for English department.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

English language is a world language. It is spoken as a first language in Britain and America. But it is spoken as a second language in many more countries of the world as a result of colonization. Although a second language, it can even be regarded as one of the major languages in Africa because it has become such a vital and essential tool in the daily lives of the people in the continent. In 1953 the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) published a report arguing in favor of mother tongue (First language) instruction. UNESCO noted that the benefits of mother tongue instruction are along many dimensions.

Psychologically, mother tongue language is the system of meaningful signs that in his mind works automatically for expression and understanding Sociologically, it is a means of identification among member of the community to which he belongs. Educationally, he learns more quickly through it than through an unfamiliar linguistic medium (UNESCO, 1953, p. 11).

A language is a second language when it is chosen as the official language of a people who have other languages. In several countries of Africa, including Nigeria, it is the official language, the language of government, education, administration and general national and international transactions. It also, in these countries, serves as the language of the law courts, the mass media and commerce. In many of 'such countries, it did not become important by choice. It is the major aspect of British colonialism which has stuck like glue years after the countries regained their independence. Text books have remained in English especially in countries like Nigeria where there are numerous indigenous languages which deter curriculum planners from providing texts in so many languages.

In many African countries today, there could be no serious interchange of professional knowledge, no education beyond the primary school level, without the English language. The multiplicity of languages has seen to this and has placed English language in a very superior position as unifying force and will likely remain so for a very long time.

In Nigeria, the role of English is quite important especially since the problem of multiplicity of languages is really acute. It is, therefore, not foreseeable in future that any one language group will dominate the others successfully to become accepted as the language of education and government.

Nigerian English, also known as Nigerian Standard English, is a dialect of English spoken in Nigeria. It is based on British English. Additionally, loanwords and collocations have emerged from the native languages of Nigeria, which come from the need to express concepts specific to the culture of the nation Language is generally used for the purpose of interaction among people in the society. It is also used to differentiate people by sex, age and social status within a particular society. Language serves as a tool for development in every society. It develops nations or societies socially and particularly for the purpose of interaction within and outside a particular society. Through choice of words and forms of speeches, language can be used to differentiate gender or age.

 The languages that a person uses can be differentiate into L1 and L2, that is first and second languages. First language is also known as mother tongue meaning our language or the language a child first comes in contact with depending on the environment he/she is born and raised while second language is a language that is later learnt at adult stage.

1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEMS

Every individual has a first language or Nativisation of English. Hausa language is a largely spoken language in the Northern part of Nigeria. It is observed that most Hausa native speakers posses this problem of their second language (English) facing syntactic problem as a result of the interference or the influence of the mother tongue (Hausa) over the second language (English). This is why a native speaker of Hausa language is easily identified if he/she speaks English language because the interference will be observed once the speakers makes an utterance.


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