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Mother tongue
interference can be either positive or negativetoward the improvement and
result of student language acquisition. In foreign language development
institute (FLDI),the use of mother tongue dialect is to ease speaker in
communicating since the native speaker like dialect and structure are different
and unfamiliar for the members. For this reason, the mother tongue is a means of
encouragement to communicate in English. this research is focus on the English
acquisition and the interference of the mother tongue toward English in term
of: grammar, vocabulary and intonation. The qualitative method is used to
analyze the data which the data are in the form of recording and transcription
of student daily communication. The result shows that English is acquired
through formal and informal activity that is both conducted by the institution
and student association. In addition, since the members are allowed to use
English with mother tongue dialect and its attribute in informal activity, the
interference is inevitable in the form of grammatical, lexical and


foreign language acquisition, it is inevitable that mother tongue has a role on
how one learns and acquires new language. As an example, the mastery of
vocabulary and practice are more successful since less of new rule from target
language (Manrique, 2013, p. 92), the mother
tongue grammatical structure transferred into the target language, and mother
tongue intonation used in target language etc. 
The examples show that the role of mother tongue interference can be
either positive or negative(Derakhshan & Karimi, 2015, p. 2113; Ellis, 1994,
p. 311; Thyab, 2016)toward the
improvement and result of student language acquisition.

where the members are obligated to use English for twenty-four hours allows the
member to speak English with their mother tongue dialect. The use of mother
tongue dialect is used to ease the members in communicating since the native
speaker like dialect and structure are different and unfamiliar for the
members. For this reason, the mother tongue is used as a means encourage the
members to communicate in English along the day.

FLDI have set a goal to enable the members to be able communicate in English
for three months. To this purpose, the members are obligated to use English for
twenty for hours as possible as they can. As a result, in everyday (informal)
English communication the members use mother tongue dialect as well as
structure in speaking English. Consequently, since the mother tongue dialect
and structure are different with English, there are some phonological and
morphological aspects that are different from recognized English (American and
British English). From this phenomena, this research is going to focus on what
extend the mother tongue influence the language acquisition in term of
structure, vocabulary and Intonation.

are some researches dealing with mother tongue interference toward the language
acquisition. As an example “A Study of Mother Tongue Interference in
Pronunciation of College English Learning in China”(Luo, 2014). This research
discusses on how a mother tongue dialect interfere whether student and teacher
pronunciation. The interference is in the form of how different dialect
pronunciation between the mother tongue and English that make pronunciation
confusion when they speak or read aloud. Furthermore, Shobah and Prami(2014) analyze about
how Bahasa Indonesia( L1) interferes student writing performance of English
function word. The finding of the research is that the student writing product
of English function word is interfered by Bahasa Indonesia structure. In
addition, Denizer(2017) studies about
how mother tongue interference toward basic four skills in English (speaking,
listening, reading and writing) and which skill has been interfered the most by
mother tongue. However, my paper analyzes about the pronunciation, structure
and vocabulary at once. As a result, this paper provides information about
mother tongue interference not only in structure (vocabulary and grammar) but
also in oral production of the language (Pronunciation and intonation).

To this purpose this
paper examines: a) How do students acquire English Language? b) How does
student mother tongue interfere English? c) In what extend does the students’
mother tongue interfere English language acquisition in terms of:




paper is presented in the arrangement of: introduction, theoretical framework,
methodology, discussion and conclusion.

frame work

language acquisition

Ellis proposes that second language acquisition in
two ways: naturalistic and instructed(Ellis, 1994, p. 12). Naturalistic
refers to natural language learning through communication of real social
context. In this case, the language is acquired through the actual use of the
language and it is learnt naturally. Instructed refers to language acquisition
through the books reference and classroom instruction. This type of
acquisition, language is learnt formally with classroom setting where the
learners are required to demonstrate their mastery through test and assessment.

and internal factors in Second language acquisition

Ellis (1997, pp. 4–5) argues that
there are two factors on how learners acquire a language: internal and external
factor. Internal factor is the factor that carried by the learners itself. As
an example, general knowledge of language which the learner has from his first
language especially in structure. Furthermore, the language aptitude that the
learner has which affect the vary on how fast a learner acquire language than
others. In short, the internal factor is the learner background knowledge of
language and the language learning capability.

External factor is factors that influence the
language learning from the surrounding of the learner: social milieu and
language input. Social milieu is social condition where the learning take
place. The social milieu provides learners opportunities to hear and speak the
target language. With the support environment, the learners acquire the
language better since they can get exposure through listening the language they
can practice it at the same time. In addition, language input refers to
language sample that the student exposed. The language input can be from the
listening with its various kind such music, movie, and conversation etc.

tongue interference in second language acquisition

According to Chomsky, the language structure of the
mother tongue remains the highest rank in terms of producing a language(Chomsky & Halle, 1968, p. 251). For this
reason, when one acquires a new language the structure of the mother tongue
will influence the production of the new language. Dealing with the
relationship between mother tongue and second language, Wilkins as cited in (Sumaranama, n.d., p. 3) states that
mother tongue can be either as negative and positive transfer. Negative
transfer is when the mother tongue and target language have different structure
that may disturb one another or known as “interference”. On the other hand,
positive transfer refers is when the two language has the same or similar
structure that can assist to learn the new language and known as
“facilitation”. In the other word, the more the different between languages the
bigger the interference and vice versa(Ellis, 1994, p. 300).

Dulay et al (1982)
as cited in (Lilasari
& Suprastayasa, 2016)define 
interference  as the unconscious
transfer causedby habit, of the basic structure of the mother tongue onto
the  basic form  of 
the  target  language. 
Lott (1983: 256) defines interference as ‘errors in the learner’s use of
the foreign language that can be traced back to themother tongue’.

There are
some part of mother tongue including dialect, pronunciation that can interfere
target language. According to Berthold, Mangubhai&Batoriwicz (1997) as
cited by Ofiong and Okon(2013, p. 1), (Skiba, 1997), the
interference takes place at the following levels:

a.    Phonological:  can bedescribed in terms of phonetic, phonemic,
allophonic or

and it also includes foreign accent. According to Fromkin
et al (2009, p. 213) propose that in
language sound ( phonetic), intonation is a part of the analysis. As an example,
the utterance “Paula Is here” can
have different meaning when it uses different intonation.  With falling intonation, it means as
statement/ information, whereas with rising intonation it means as question or
asking for information. Unfortunately, Chomsky & Halle (1968, p. IX) state that the
field of intonation: contour, pith and tone, is still doesn’t have systematic
role of framework to analyze the intonation. (See Stockwell (1960),Bierwisch
(1966), Lieberman (1966) for discussion of these topics(Chomsky & Halle, 1968, p. IX).

b.   Grammatical:  is when elements such as word order, pronouns,
determinants, tense, etc., from the native language influence the target
language.  This is very common phenomena
where the mother language’s grammar structure is very strong in the learner
mind, when learners try to acquire new language they unconsciously use the mother
tongue grammar structure. In the same way, Chomsky and Halle (1968, p. 251) argue that
mother grammar structure remains the highest rank in term of producing sentence
even in different language.As an example, the utterance “he will meet with
foreigner” is incorrect in English since in English doesn’t need preposition
“with” after the verb. However Indonesia “Diaakanbertemudengan orang asing” so
the word “dengan” is translated with “with” that in English is not necessary (Nurusshobah & W, 2014, p. 292). 

c.    Lexical:
when words are taken from the lending language. 
When the speakers do not have/know the expression of target language,
they will tend to use their mother tongue to express it.  Fromkin et al state that the language we
speak influence our cognition in some ways (Fromkin et al., 2009, p. 24). As an example,
the word “jek, yeh, riah, siah, wa, pah,
lah(Madurese)/ lho(Javanese)” that we cannot find in English makes
the speaker harder to identify how to say this expression in English.

d.   Orthographic:  when using the spelling rules of the mother
tongue into the targetlanguage.


In this paper, qualitative method was implemented since
the research is to seek the theories explanation dealing with the phenomena
observed (Ary, Jacobs, Sorensen, Walker, & Razavieh, 2005,
p. 420). The subject of the research was
FLDI members which the data was in form of FLDI members’ speaking recording.
The data was transcribed and analyzed by using theories of mother tongue
interference toward second language acquisition. Furthermore, since Madurese is
local language, in presenting the result the researcher translated the Madurese
into Indonesian to ease the understanding of the reader.


English language acquisition

In FLDI the students acquire the language through
formal and informal activity. for formal activity, the students get a class
from the institution which the teachers have been graduated from undergraduate
degree. The lesson taught in formal activity are the basic four skills, grammar
and vocabulary. This is as what Ellis(Ellis, 1994, p. 12) assumes as
instructed language acquisition where the language exposure is exposed
structurally by reference book and usually with the classroom setting.
Similarly, Klein (1986) as cited in Ellis (Ellis, 1994, p. 12)argues that the
acquisition which occur in formal way is categorized as guided language
acquisition which the language exposure is set to achieve a goal of language

Furthermore, there are various informal activities
in FLDI to assist the members’ English acquisition. The informal activity is
divided into two: conducted by the members’ association and conducted by the
senior member in each room. The activities of the members’ association are
speech, debate, discussion, translation, watching English movie and telling
story. Those activities are obligated for all members to participate and it is supervised
by the institution. In addition, for the activity conducted by the senior
member in each room is extending the material the students get from the formal
class conducted by the institution. To extend the material, the tutor emphasis
on practicing through speech, discussion, role play the material taught.On the
other word, the activity conducted in each room is more relax and extending the

Those informal activities, both conducted by the
members’ association and senior member are whatEllis(1997, p. 5) claims as
external factor of second language acquisition. In this case the social milieu
is the English speaking environment and various activities in FLDI. The social
milieu of FLDI enables the student to acquire the language fluently since they
can practice the language. Moreover, for the language input, FLDI members get a
huge various input whether from other members or from the music, movie, speech
etc. the language input support student with numerous exposures that they can
use to communicate.

In fact, Ellis(1997) suggests that
effective second language acquisition is by considering both internal and
external factor to success in the language acquisition. Similarly, FLDI combine
these two factors of language acquisition where the members have average
English skill and motivation in learning it (known from the test enrolment and
interview) which included to internal factor. In addition, as external factor English
speaking environment (social milieu) and many activities whether conducted
formal and informal way (language input). As a result, the combination of this
two factors makes the members are able to communicate fluently in English in
three months that become the target of the institution.

tongue interference in second language acquisition

According to Berthold, Mangubhai
(1997) as cited by Ofiong and Okon(2013, p. 1), the
interference takes place in phonological, lexical, orthographic and
grammatical. In this case, to answer the second and third research question the
researcher classifies the interference of FLDI members by three kind of
inferences proposed by Berthold et al: Phonological, lexical and grammatical.


grammatical the interference of second language acquisition is occurred in:


In FLDI member daily
speaking (informal) they tent to inverse subject after verb in affirmative and
negative sentence. This kind of interference occurred because the speaker
followed the Madurese sentence structure in their daily communication: “Verb +
Complement + S”.

know I am”(I don’t know) from Madurese (Ndak tau saya)

have money I am,(I don’t have money) from Madurese (

I am…(I was telling…)From Madurese ( bilangsaya ……)

I am(I
am lazy) from Madurese ( malassaya)

always you(you always think about girl) from Madurese (

strong I am look at her (she impresses me when I look at
her)from Madurese (ndakkuatsayamelihatnya)

in addition, the
inversion did not only occur in the positive or negative sentence but also in
interrogative sentence:

last night where to go?(where did you want to go last
night) from Madurese (kamutadimalammaukemana?)

wanna paying who is pah?(who will pay)from Madurese (Yangmaubayarsiapa?)

verb agreement

Most of the FLDI
members did not consciously apply the grammatical rule of English even exactly
they have master it very well. The mother tongue sentence structure of course
plays significant role on how the speaker arrange the sentence. In Indonesia or
Madurese sentence the structure has no change when the subject and tensesare
different. As a result, the members did not pay attention toward the verb and
subject agreement in English.   

am order you…, (I am ordering you)

eating one bucket, (you eat one bucket)

I am meeting him, (yesterday, I met him)

am cannot go home


In term of lexical
category especially in lending the word from the mother tongue, FLDI members
never use mother tongue language in their communication rather they use English
word with additional either affixes or suffixes from mother tongue


FLDI members omit some
sentence component which become important part of the English sentence
structure: Subject and state of being verb (to be). This erasure was influenced
by Madurese structure which has no to be and in some cases omit the subject in
passive voice. 

rice at the time (I have been given rice at the time)
from Madurese (di kasihnasiwaktuitu)

expensive rice,(in Malang, rice is expensive) from Madurese(Malang,

that one,(That one is mine) from madurese(punyasayaitu)

always you. (you always think about girl)from Madurese

even there is an
omission in each utterance, which of course effect the meaning of the utterance
but the listener has shared the understanding about what the speaker mean. In
the other word, they have understood each other dealing with utterance they
speak which might be confusing for the listener outside this community.


This feature of
addition is very visible since it is unique belong to each language in this case
Madurese. The addition is usually in the form of suffix or affix which are
attached to English word.

Two thousand-an,
from Madurese (Duaribuan)

 how much-an?, from Madurese (berapaan?)

that one …, from Madurese (itu yang itu)

make me confuse reh,
from Madurese (membuatsayabingungsaja)

cannot silent, from Madurese (kokndakbisadiam)

paying who is pah, from Madurese (Siapa yang maubayar?)

 yesterday yesterday-nah
that one still, from Madurese (kemarin-kemarin-nyaitu)

not coming-comingfrom
Madurese (ndakdatang-datang)

Giving rice at the time
Madurese (sudah di kasihnasiwaktuitu)

Some of those additions
are different from Javanese and Indonesian language. As a result, the one who masters
English but his mother tongue is not Madurese doesn’t not understand this


In phonological
interference the researcher divided into two: Pronunciation and Intonation

pronounced as /dæk/,

about/ha???ba?t/ pronounced as /hob??k/,

pronounced as /d??k/

pronunciation the FLDI members tend to use mother tongue way of pronunciation
rather than using English pronunciation. Such as they used /d/ rather than /ð/,
/??/ or /o/ than /a?/, /??/ than /o?/. This is in accordance with the finding
of Subandowo(2017) that Indonesian
student produce more error in vowel sound rather than consonant sound.


As the mother tongue
structure interfere the target language, the speakers tend to use mother tongue
intonation as well to speak. In FLDI, the members used Madurese intonation when
speaking English for informal activity. Thus, stressing, raising and falling of
the intonation of English utterance are totally interfered by the mother
tongue. In the other word, they use Madurese accented English in their daily

I don’t know either (raising)when…, from Madurese interference:Sayandak tau juga (raising) kapan…

after diniyahexam (raising), I see,

he is mine (rising + hold) actually, from Madurese interference:Diapunyasaya (raising + hold) sebenarnya

spend rice (raising + hold) only you, from Madureseinterference:Menghabiskanberas (raising + hold) sajakamu.


In FLDI, students acquire English through formal and
informal activity. Formal activity is the activity that is conducted by the
institution which the English teaching and learning activity is in the
classroom. Moreover, for the informal activity is student practice and learn
the language in their room with their roommate for twenty-four hours. In
addition, the informal activity is held by the student association by
conducting English activity such as debate, speech, discussion and so on. with
these abundant exposure of English, students are able to communicate in

However, since the students’ mother tongue is
Madurese, there are some interferences in term of grammatical, lexical and
phonological. In grammatical, the interference is in the form of word order and
subject verb agreement. Furthermore, in lexical, the interference is in the
form of addition and omission toward the target language. Besides, in
intonation, the mother tongue intonation entirely interferes the target
language since the FLDI member use Madurese accented English for their daily


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