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.
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
           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
          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
          In mixed transfer items partly from the mother tongue and
partly from English are conjugated or collated e.g. ‘bukateria’ (buka) in
Yoruba means carteen, while ‘teria’ is clipped from English cafeteria.
(d)     Discourse Transfer
          At the level of discourse, there are some transfers.  This is more pronouncing at the level of
greetings. For example, the system of greetings in Yoruba differs considerably
from that of English. And a Yoruba English bilingual transfers the system of
greetings in Yoruba into English.  For
example, the Yoruba people have different greetings for every human endeavour
as in:
Appreciation:                                             Transfer
( A)  E se ana
 ( A) Thanks for yesterday
( B)   Ko tope
  ( B) Don’t mention
For Bereavement:
( P)  E ku ofo
(P. (You) Accept my sympathy
(J)    E se
(J)  Thank you
Expectant Mother:
(F)  Asokale anfaani
(F.  (I wish you)  A safe delivery
( B)  E se
( B)  Thank you
system of greetings is also observed in via the pronunciation of length
greetings in place casual greetings which characterized the discourse.  I.e. in a place of “hello/hello”.  The Yoruba bilingual goes further to say “how
is your car” as in the following example;
Yoruba greetings                           Transfer Yoruba English Greetings
B.      E kaasan (Egbon Kehinde)   B.         Good
afternoon brother Kehinde
K       Kaasan                                K. Good
K       Se alaafia ni                                 
K. I hope you are well
B.      Adupe                                 B. (Yes)
thank you.
          For instance, at the primary school
level, an utterance such as “my stomach is very sweet” ‘I can hear a
smell”.  At the secondary school level
the following example can be found. “The book fell off the table”.  At the university level, grammatical transfer
is released as follow:
                   “I want to be registered”
                   “Can I see you?”
(c)      Lexical Transfer:  Simply refers to the transfer of lexical
meaning in language A to language B.  For
instance, the concept of father is used to make different thing in the English
of the Yoruba speaker of English.  For
the Yoruba speakers of English father those not only refers to once biological
male parent but to capture concept such as uncle, an old relative, an
elderly  person, with whom the speaker
has some close relation or even a father in-law.
          What the word father means when a
Yoruba speaker of English uses it can only be gotten from the context of
situation.  Lexical transfer takes two
different forms.  The first form can be
traced to linguistic factors while the second form can be traced to linguistic
factors while the second from can be traced to cultural factors.  Lexical transfers identified linguistically
are regarded as ERRORS.  Whereas that
identified culturally is not so regarded more so, when the latter expresses the
local colour of socially recognized phenomena. 
Lexical transfer can be described under two categories identified below:
(i)      Semantic
  Some times in Nigerian
English (NE) may have equivalent items in active English but expresses
different meaning through them. 
“Masquerade” has to do with ancestral in cult worship in /Nigerian
English.  But it means ‘deceit’ or hiding
ones identity in native English students are being taught by second language
teacher of English language.  Thus, if
the these students are not properly taught the production of the distinctive
sounds in English language and if proper care is not taken the features of the
first language will definitely influence their pronunciation of English
words.  Majority of the English students
in many Nigerian schools finds it difficult to pronounce sounds like /v/, /o/,
and /s/ as they are being pronounced by the ideal native
speaker-hearer of English language.
          This is because these sounds were
absent in Alphabets of many Nigerian languages, so if one listens to the
pronunciation of this sounds by Nigerian students one would discover that these
sounds are normally or usually being substituted for those sounds that the
similar  to those alphorn- mention sounds
that occur in their first language. Also in thus research, we look at it
whether this transfer is a positive or negative one.
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.
Objectives of the Study
          The objectives of this study are to:
Know how often secondary school
students deviated from one language to another.
Give us an indebt and better
knowledge and understanding of the English sounds difficult for secondary
school students to pronounce.
Scope of the Study
       This study
shall be carried out in some selected private and public secondary schools in Ijero
Local Government Area of Ekiti State. These are:
       The systematic sampling technique shall
be used in the selection of some schools in the Ijero Local Government Area of Ekiti
   Limitation of the Study
        This study
does not look into the various methods of teaching of English language used by
teachers. This is because apart from the fact that it might be impossible to
get teachers who have been in the schools for the past five years, judgement
about the quality of the various methods used by them will be difficult to
       Another limitation is that this study
does not cover the assessment of students’ quality of spoken English through
students quality of spoken English can be a means of assessing the influence of
qualified English language teachers on them.
Definition of Terms
Mother tongue (L1):
It indicate the first very language which a child comes in contact with, or the
language of the child’s immediate environment. It is acquired with no parameter
for competence measurement.
Second Language (L2):
After the acquisition of the mother tongue, the child is then introduced to
another language which learner learns from time to time. There his competence
is assessed or measured in juxtaposition with the native speaker.
This is the study of native language and culture in its natural environment.


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