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The Influence of My Mother Tongue on Speaking English

Have you ever wondered why you have an accent when you speak English? Or why do certain English words and phrases slip off your tongue more easily than others?

The reality is that your mother language has a significant impact on how you speak English. Your native language influences how you interpret, speak, and even hear English sounds.

Many things influence your English speaking style, ranging from the age you began learning English to the standards of pronunciation and grammar of your first language. While an accent is frequently seen as a restriction, your bilingual talents are something to be proud of.

Your unique English accent is a natural byproduct of the incredible human capacity to learn and navigate across languages.

Accent And Pronunciation

The way you speak English is heavily influenced by your mother language. Consider this: you learned to create sounds, use grammar, and comprehend linguistic ideas in your native language. Everything influences how you pronounce English words and build sentences.

Some things, like your accent and pronunciation, will remain the same as your first language. If your language lacks the "th" sound, pronounce it like a "s" or "z" in English. Alternatively, if your original language is tonal, highlight English terms similarly.

• Vocabulary And Phrasing

The words and phrases you are most familiar with in English are likely derived from your mother language. You'll tend to translate statements and idioms from your home tongue word for word, even if they don't exactly work in English.

• Grammar Habits

Grammar principles taught to you as a youngster still seem the most natural. As a result, you may compose English sentences using the patterns of your native language. For example, suppose your native language has different article use or verb conjugation norms. In that case, you'll have to work hard to break these habits while speaking English.

For instance, many Indo-European languages (like German, Spanish, Italian and French) have both definite and indefinite articles; however, Arabic has the definite article, but not indefinite articles. Still other languages, like Chinese and Japanese, do not use articles at all.

For example, some English language learners might say:

“I went to movie yesterday. It was not good movie”

However, the correct sentence is:

"I went to the movies yesterday. It was not a good movie”.

Improving your grammar usage in conversation takes practice. You can improve this as well as your accent, broaden your vocabulary, and get more comfortable with English grammar through the REAL Speaking program Language Links. Parts of your native language are likely to stay in how you speak English - which is positive. But we can help you apply the grammar previously learned in your conversations. Our many linguistic influences contribute to English's richness and vibrancy.

Vocabulary And Idioms

When learning English as a foreign language, your mother tongue significantly impacts the phrases and words you learn.

• Your native language influences how you comprehend and utilize words in English. For example, the English terms "embarrassed" and "embarazada" have a similar sound but a distinct meaning in Spanish.

• Idioms, or phrases that signify anything other than their literal words, often confuse many non-native speakers. If you translate each phrase exactly, an idiom like "it's raining cats and dogs" makes no sense. All you have to do is study the definitions of popular English idioms.

• Your native language may influence your accent and pronunciation. It might be tough to make sounds that exist in English but not in your native language. Japanese speakers, for example, often struggle with the "L" and "R" sounds.

These effects will decrease with time and practice. Learn as much English as possible via literature, podcasts, and TV programs. Concentrate on expanding your vocabulary and learning idioms. Even if it seems ridiculous, practice your pronunciation. Find a language partner or instructor with whom to talk.

Your native tongue may have influenced how you learned English, but it does not determine your skill. You may attain fluency and overcome any barriers in your mother language with hard effort and determination.

If you stay with it, your accent, word choice, and ability to learn idioms will improve substantially. The trick is to use English as often as possible, particularly while speaking. You'll start having thoughts in English before you realize it!

Grammar And Syntax

• Word Order

The order of words in a phrase varies depending on the language. The subject-verb-object structure may differ in your local language. When speaking English, keep appropriate word order in mind. Order your sentences with the subject, verb, and object in that order. Say "I eat dinner" rather than "Eat I dinner."

• Articles

Articles such as "a," "an," and "the" may not exist in your native language. In English, the words "a" and "an" relate to non-specific nouns, whereas "the" refers to definite nouns. For instance, you may say, "I want to buy a car," to refer to any automobile, or "I drove the car" to refer to a particular car. To seem more genuine, practice employing articles while speaking.

• Pluralization

Different languages have different rules for making nouns plural. Most nouns in English become plural by adding "-s" or "-es," such as "book" to "books" or "bus" to "busses." Some irregular nouns change from "person" to "people." When speaking English, focus on the right plural form of nouns to prevent mistakes like "foots" or "children."

• Prepositions

Prepositions such as "in," "on," "under," "over," and "between" have varied meanings in different languages. Prepositions in English express location, direction, possession, and other connections between nouns or pronouns. Say something like, "The keys are on the table" or "I went to the store." When speaking English, practice utilizing basic prepositions correctly.

• Pronouns

Pronouns replace nouns, although their forms vary depending on their function in a phrase. "I, me, my" refers to you, "you, your" to the person you're talking to, "he/him, she/her, it" to other people and things, and "we, us, our" to encompass numerous individuals in English. To avoid misunderstanding while speaking English, use the proper pronouns.

Paying attention to variations in grammar and syntax between your native language and English can help you speak more effectively with practice. Concentrating on word order, articles, plurals, prepositions, and pronouns is a good place to start.

Cultural Context

In subtle ways, your mother language influences how you speak English. Your cultural background shapes your accent, word choice, and communication style.

• Vocabulary

Words from your native language often translate immediately into the English you speak. For example, if your home tongue has various terms for different sorts of love or snow, you may use such phrases while speaking English. You might contrast "koibito" (romantically in love) with "ai" (deep fondness for close friends). Or consider how the snow is "yuki" (powdery) as opposed to "setsu" (moist and thick).

• Expressions & Idioms

Idioms and expressions from your native tongue tend to enter your English. For example, a Spanish speaker would say, "he has cold blood" to describe someone unfeeling. Still, a French speaker may say, "he pulls the wool over people's eyes" to mislead them. Because idioms are inherently cultural, the ones you know in your native language typically come through while speaking English.

• Communication Style

Your native culture influences your communication, whether direct or indirect, casual or professional. Speakers from cultures that value peace and "saving face" may be exceedingly respectful and indirect when speaking English.

People from democratic cultures may dress more casually, focusing less on hierarchy or social standing. The communication style you develop as a youngster remains with you no matter what language you speak.

In all these ways, your mother language influences your English. Speaking a second language does not mean abandoning your native culture. The two will always go hand in hand.

Translating Habits

Without recognizing it, habits from your mother language might impact how you interact in English. Here are a few typical translation flaws to be aware of:

• Word-For-Word Translation

Using literal translation when transferring idioms and phrases from one language to another is tempting. Idioms, on the other hand, sometimes translate differently. For example, if translated exactly, "it's raining cats and dogs" has no meaning in other languages. Acquire and practice the use of basic English idioms in conversation.

• Listen for idioms in regular speech and media. Follow how they are utilized in context.

• Create flashcards of frequent idioms and study them regularly.

• Use one or two idioms in daily conversation to get familiar with them.

• False Cognates

Cognates are words with similar meaning or pronunciation in at least two languages. Some, however, are "false cognates" with distinct meanings. In English, "embarrassed" implies "ashamed," yet in Spanish, "embarazada" means "pregnant." Before utilizing a cognate, double-check if the meaning is the same.

• Maintain a list of recognized false cognates between your original tongue and English.

• If you come across a new term that seems similar, check it up to be sure it's a real cognate.

• Research word origins, prefixes, and suffixes to help you identify cognates. Similar word components across languages often suggest a common meaning or origin.

• Grammar And Syntax

Language structure and standards vary, therefore, translating word for word might result in difficult or incomprehensible syntax and grammar. Some languages, for example, put adjectives before nouns, whereas others put them after. The rules of English syntax, grammar, and punctuation should be learned.

You may overcome your translation habits and become more proficient in English with practice. Focus on idioms, cognates, and grammar; spend as much time as possible immersed in the language; and don't be afraid to make errors. Your mother language will always have some impact on how you speak English, which is what makes bilingual speaking so exciting!


You've just discovered how your mother language influences how you speak English. Your native language's sounds, rhythms, and syntax are strongly established in you from an early age. Even if you become proficient in English, elements of your original language will almost certainly remain. But it is precisely because of this that the English language is so rich and varied.

Our accents, idioms, and linguistic oddities add color and personality to English. So embrace your accent and the verbal quirks that define you. Your mother language is important to your identity, culture, and sense of self.

Be proud of the impact it has had on your English; it is what distinguishes you as a distinctive and engaging communicator. There is not one correct method to speak English - make it yours and communicate effectively.

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