The Effect of Mungaka on the Second Language Learner of English
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The English language is a West Germanic dialect dating back to the fifth century. This language evolved from the Anglo-Saxons in England and South-Eastern Scotland. Since globalization was growing and since England was a major superpower in the world from the time of the Anglo-Saxons to the present, English was easily spread through or imposed upon her many colonies, including her colonies in North America, the Indian sub-continent and Oceania. Before English, the prevailing language was Latin. It has replaced French as the lingua franca of diplomacy since the Second World War.
The English Language came to West Africa and Cameroon in particular through trade. Although the British dominated the Cameroonian coast only at the end of the 19th century, Cameroon had been exposed to contact with some English much earlier, although it is not known exactly when. Already, Mbassi-Manga (1973) reports that English privateers were present in Portuguese boats, the first appearance of which can be traced to the year 1472, when the Portuguese are said to have “discovered” Cameroon. (1973:3) Later, the missionaries came, the slave merchants and then the government in search of new coverts, goods and land for raw materials. Today, Cameroon has two official languages-English and French and over 280 native languages. Biloa (2004). This researcher intends to find out how the Bali Nyonga people of the North West Region of Cameroon, pronounce words in the English Language.
This chapter is made up of an introduction, a background to the study, statement of the problem, the purpose of the study, the significance of the study, research objectives, research questions, hypothesis, scope or delimitation of the study, and definition of terms.
Background of the Study
The Mungaka language is the mother tongue of the Bali Nyonga people in the North West Region of Cameroon. This group migrated from the North to the South and Westwards to Nigeria in search of pasture and land to inhabit their growing population. They were a warring family made up of a father called Gawolbe, six sons and a daughter. They make up the seven Balis today and the daughter -Nahnyonga is the founder of the Nyonga Clan. They broke away after the death of their father and settled for some time among different groups in the Western region. From their relationship with these other tribes, the Mungaka language developed. According to Lima (1987:116), the Bati language is the mother-base of Mungaka. Unlike Mungaka, the English language is not a completely different language from the West Germanic dialect and the varieties of English spoken in each continent of the world today are mutually intelligible to each other.
It can be deduced that incipient Mungaka was a sort of pidginized form of language derived from a fusion of the Bati and Bamun languages as well as some Bamileke languages such as Dschang and other related languages with which the Balis also had casual contact. This is just like the case with the English language which is what it is today, by accepting and adopting words from other languages. The state of indigenous bilingualism of Mungaka must have existed for long for as Ndangam (1972:5) puts it. “…by 1889 when the German explorer Zintgraff arrived Bali Nyonga, Mubakoh survived only as a court language.”(Lima 1987:118).
There are several branches in English which could be treated under this topic like phonology, syntax, morphology, pragmatics, lexicology and semantics. This research, however, restricts its boundaries to the phonological aspects of language learning.
Mungaka speakers for the most part learned the English Language at school. Like every LI, Mungaka should influence the learning of English phonologically. Hence, this research intends to explore how far Mungaka speakers can pronounce English words. This research will equally review related literature and carry out an interview and give recommendations for further research work in this field of study.
Statement of the Problem
It has generally been observed that Second Language (L2) Learners of English have problems when expressing themselves in the English language.
The fact that after learning English from school, L2 learners still fail at end of year examinations due to spelling errors is evidence of the way they spell and pronounce words.
Using Mungaka speakers of G.H.S. Bali and indigenes in the Bali Nyonga municipality, this researcher intend to find out the phonological effect Mungaka has on students and people learning English as a Second Language.
Purpose of the Study
The aims or purposes of this study can be enumerated as follows:
To help L2 learners identify common errors they make in English.
– To further emphasize on a proof of the fact that the LI actually has influence over the learning of the L2.
– To encourage L2 Learners to forget faults that their mother tongues may have on their learning of the English language and do their best to know and speak it.
Significance of the Study
This study is significant in that, it will:
- Contribute knowledge to education.
- Encourage students to try to be proficient in their pronunciation of English words.
- For Mungaka speakers to know that their LI has an influence on their learning English.
The following objectives will be used in this study:
To enhance research in the Field of Linguistics in the Faculty of Arts.
- To find out why Mungaka speakers make errors in English.
- To see that pronunciation errors can be corrected in L2 learning with regards to LI transfer.
To improve writing and pronunciation skills for career development.
The following questions have been framed to guide this study:
– How can research be enhanced in the Field of Linguistics in the Faculty of Arts?
What can be done to correct pronunciation errors caused by LI influence?
To encourage L2 Learners to forget faults that their mother tongues may have on their learning of the English language and do their best to know and speak it.