Mother Tongue Influence, “the disease”

April 19, 2007 at 7:47 pm | Posted in News and Views | 38 Comments

Must have heard of this certain “disease” subtly called MTI, and expandedly known as Mother Tongue Influence.

This is a “disease” most of non-English speakers suffer from (though no one would want to admit it). Having this disease could make you almost an outcast. Society finds it really difficult to keep such “diseased” people among their circle. Though it’s not actually communicable or an epidemic, it’s dreaded like any other disease.

Who all suffer from this “disease”? Most of us actually…

So, what is this “disease”? It’s a speech-related problem which would make us incomprehensible to a lot of people or in more complicated words, MTI is the influence of your mother tongue on your accent, basically while speaking English.

Do only south Indians show the symptoms? Not only south Indians, all non-native speakers of English do (that would make all Indians vulnerable).

If a south Indian and a north Indian suffer from this and are talking about making things ‘simple’, you might hear it as either “simbl” or “simpal”. Or you could hear “konstrukson” (construction), “bhaat” (what), “aadio” (audio), brekphast (breakfast). These are the few symptoms of this “disease”. So, beware of “the disease”.

But jokes apart. Does it really make any difference? We speak English and as far as people can understand I don’t think any kind of influence should actually bother anyone. English is a universal language and is all accepting. The English we speak can be termed Indian English and is completely acceptable, then why do we make such a hue and cry and mockery out of it?



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  1. Hello,
    This is ANAND from hyderabad.i am from thid called MTI.I will tell you the situation where i suffered with it.
    In the last week i went for the interview in sutherland company as voice based technical support.So,i went ther by 11:30A.M and he Hrcame around 12:30P.M.As usual he started the interview asking us about our personal profile and tell some thing about on the topic which we choose.
    At the beginning he asked me the personal profile and started saying about my profile lik this:
    Myself ANAND KUMAr completed B.Tech from JNTU unviersity and my inter from Sri Nagarjuna Jr. college in SR NAGAR and my schooling from IDPL high school near balanagar,IDPL colony.
    After that he asked me a question.”If i say i have done my M.Tech nagarjuna university in medak,is it correct say Yes or No”.As seeing all i tensed didnt thought about the question and said yes its correct.He said Ok leaved your turn is over next.
    again at the last i asked him a chance.
    He given me a,i proceeded telling abt my project which i did in my B.Tech.After completing he some what convinced asked me to tell about TANKBUND.
    Here my problems started like forming the sentence, pronunciation etc…
    I waited for few seconds and collected somepoints(visitingplace, foriegnercome) and started saying.
    TankBund is the visiting place and many foriegners come from all over the world and take photographs there…aaaa and at the center of the tnakbund there is lord buddha and beside to the left of tankbund there is lumbini park from where we can go for the boating.i went till the center nearer to the lord buddha and came back.
    After that he said that you are having MTI…….. you need to improve the communication.
    I’m telling all this to you because you can send me the information regarding my ability in english like forming the sentence mostly how to clear this MTI diaease.

    • the best way to over come mother tongue influence z to watch a lot of english l help u c results faster

      • i totally agree with Niharika. Don’t forget t listen to all dialogues with earphone if possible.

  2. the best effort to do it is to concentrate on pronounciations and try to obeserve the way an american pronounces such words then start using the same pronounciation.
    ts simple thopugh it comes from a long process

    • Hello,
      This is Abhay Gupta from Gorakhpur.i am from thid called MTI.I will tell you the situation where i suffered with it.
      I am facing many problem. Please advide us. How to speak correct words.

      i will wait you reply.

      • hello ,this is saikiran valpadasu from hyderabad. i agree with you ppl most of us do this common mistake . i have an idea where u we can practice daily few words ? for suppose if we start learning just 10 missprounced word for a day then at the end of year we will be in a better place !
        do you have any sugesstions regarding this daily few words .mail me at

  3. My suggestion to you is that you make it a conscious effort to speak in English since this is the language that is spoken in many offices. Since English is not your first language you will initially make a lot of errors while speaking the language. The reason behind this is because you are used to thinking in a regional language and you tend to form your sentences in the regional language. When you translate them to English you will tend to make errors in the form of word order and wrong tenses and as you speak, you will also use the consonant and vowel sounds that come naturally to you which make it sound like you have an accent.

    The idea behind doing this is to ensure that you get used to speaking in English as much as possible. Having done that you can then give yourself a chance at correcting yourself grammatically. While doing all of this I also recommend that you get exposure to sound content on TV channels that have English as their primary language. When you watch TV it would be a good thing to do if you can repeat the dialogues the way they are spoken.

    By the way, I’m a trainer for communication skills and American culture in the BPO industry.

    • if you dont mind..may i contact you…i am struggling a lot because of this

    • HI Samson.. Im srinivas and i have been rejected for interviews in top companies and that too in the final rounds.Only because because of this dreadful disease MTI.I am very much worried about it and im unable to concentrate on any thing.Could you help me with this please?

  4. I got Some point Regarding The MTI disease.


  5. Let’s try and understand a very simple thing:

    When we were just 3 years old, how was it possible for us to speak the language spoken by our parents without going to a school or reading a book to understand something called GRAMMAR and PRONUNCIATION?

    The answer is very simple:
    We listened and repeated the words spoken by our parents, and that’s how we learnt Hindi, Telgu, Tamil, Gujrati and in my case Bengali.


    The basic concept is:
    We learn a language( spoken ) by listening and speaking.

    So listen, speak and sleep English(NOT cricket).
    In short, listen to correct spoken English which means avoid movies and music. Listen to English news channels and people who speak correct English. Also, try and apply the same. Make a small group that is interested in learning English – as without INTEREST nothing can be achieved in life.

    HAPPY learning!

  6. hello to everyone,

    i want to thank u all for the suggestions and i think this will help people to improve there communication in english.


  7. Hi,

    I am really feeling ashamed of this MTI, I am unable to resolve this.

    if any ideas on avoding MTI is very much appreciated!!!!!!!!!!!
    I went for two intereview, where in I was not qualified becoz of this DAMM MTI.

    plsssssssssssss, if there is any source to avoid this MTI, forward it my ID.

    Thanks and regard,
    Dilip. Thaduri

  8. Hi Dilip,

    You can check Samson and Dinesh’s comments for some suggestions. The best way to improve your English speaking skills is to actually speak in the language as much as possible. Take care to talk to someone who can help you correct your mistakes.

    The most common errors we make are in the way we pronounce our consonants such as ‘v’ and ‘b’, ‘sh’ and ‘s’, even ‘r’ and ‘d’, which need to be distinguished first. You could take up any article in a newspaper or magazine and read it aloud consciously correcting those consonants as you read. This can be the first step towards correcting your MTI.

  9. Hi,
    This is lokesh…
    I wish to share my experiences and expecting a feed back for my problems.
    Myself…Lokesh,Completed my MCA.
    Even though a PG Graduate iam not that much effective to speak in English with fluency.

    Experience1: i went to Infosys BPO selections. There interviewer asked me to speak 10 mins about anything. I choose friendship as topic. But i suffered a lot to frame the sentences. i had taken so much of time to say a little words. i feel shame myself. How to overcome all these problems. He said that iam not having good communication n having MTI. aslo iam not good in pronunciation and clarity of Thoughts.

    Please help me to overcome all these…

    Thank you

  10. i am sanat student of magnus school business, visakhapatnam 07-09. thank you for this suggestion

  11. Lokesh,

    Every Tom, Dick & Harry is facing this kind of problem, don’t think that you are the only one suffering; of course our MTI will take precedence over our second language. Even I had come through the similar circumstance, but I didn’t give-up I made up my mind that I am going to speak in English as a native speaker does.

    My 1st step is that I started using most of the English words when I was communicating to my friends/parent/siblings. And the secondly I identified a good friend of mine in the sense a well-wisher who is interested in my growth, it is not necessary that they should be a native English speaker nor that he/she should be good in communicating in English. The only thing you should expect from him/her is that he should be able to accept you when you are speaking in English (shouldn’t mock or make fun of you), and should be able to pin-point your mistakes (not necessarily, because over a period of time you will be able to correct yourself). If you start to practice this, to your surprise you will be able to find a marginal difference in your communication (English) within a month.

    In addition, please read News (English) papers and watch news channels (English). Please do concentrate more on the News Interviews, which involves more of dialogs, questions and answers, which would be most useful for your practical application. If possible always have a pocket dictionary with you, take a note of the words for which you are not able to place a meaning, and refer to the dictionary and memories it. If you just follow this without fail, take my words! You will accomplish your target and overcome the blues completely within 6 months (no need to attend any training programs).

    All the very best! 🙂


    Jude. D

  12. i wana over come my MTI. could you plz help me in this regrd.

  13. give some solutions on how to overcome the problem of M.T.I.


  15. u can pls read the comments above, wherein lot of suggestions have been given

  16. Hi everyone…!! I wud like to add some points for you all that if u really need to work upon ur MTI..Then firstly, you should be conscious while speaking. And sometimes the problem arises when you are not aware whether you are speaking the right/wrong pronunciation. I can give you a suggestion for this just make it a habit of voice-recording your 2 minutes article daily. U can start reading it from the newspaper n By dis you can learn how to make sentences and will be able to learn good vocabulary also. After recording, listen to it again and again then you wud come to know ur problem n try speaking dat word again and again. One day u’ll be able to improve. So one of you is talking about forming the sentences/ Monopolizing the words. Start reading newspapers, where u wud b able 2 see the words in a proper sequence. Start reading grammar books n any one topic of english daily. At the end of the day try writing a diary at night. So dat you wud b able 2 make sentences of ur own life. Writing a diary abt ur day improves ur english. This is the fact. And if u hav a friend who can do corrections. Then Its really good… If u have any further questions, then u can send me a mail:

    • Thats a great idea Nishu and i am very thankful to you.I was rejected in the last rounds of my interviews in the top MNC companies because of this MTI.And i really feel that your suggestion is going to help me a lot.

      • really thanks nishu i appreciation your comments on MTI wen i read u r comments it very good one.

  17. iam working in a domestic call center,my dream is to
    work in a mnc bpo.i had faced many interviews but not of the interviewers said that u r fit for
    domestic only.on that day only i decided at any cost i
    must work with mnc not able to speak english without MTI.plese help me to over come MTI

  18. iam working in a domestic call center,my dream is to
    work in a mnc bpo.i had faced many interviews but not of the interviewers said that u r fit for
    domestic only.on that day only i decided at any cost i
    must work with mnc not able to speak english without MTI.plese help me to over come MTI

  19. hiii,this is rajesh.i have completed mca.and attende for ibm bpo interview,where i lost in telephonic round.they have said that i was having mother tounge influence,even for accenture interview the same problem was faced by me.i want to over come that problem with in 2 months can i do?i want some excellent suggetion for this can any body say?

  20. Hi folks,

    MTI is not a disease first of all. This is an inability of a person to pronounce certain words as a native speaker would pronounce them. However many people misinterpret this definition of MTI with inability to speak good english. These are two different things. Learning english language is easy but time consuming but at the same time it takes a lifetime to learn a language, and then another lifetime to master it. My point here is when we learnt english at schools some of us got lucky and had very good english teachers which made our base strong. While some others were not so lucky and had to deal with teachers who had pathetic knowledge of the language regardless this can be fixed if you keep surfing professional websites which have got content. One such website is this website doesn’t just contain proper english sentences and words but also gives information about the topics of your interest. I recommend reading through this website about anything and everything of your interest in order to learn proper english (Grammar and sentence structure) now for people who know english but are not able to pronounce words correctly or have difficulties in speaking the language like a native speaker would i suggest that you try to speak slow as in many indians have a habit of speaking fast and open your mouth when you speak apart from this learn the proper spoken english structure from a renowed institute.

    Hope this helped!

    Muzaffar Ahmed,
    Process and V&A Trainer,
    Anthem India Pvt. Ltd.

  21. hiii friends m asif jamil.I have been suffering from MTI for two years, i almost pronounce rightly the english word, but it is not in the case of sentences.When i speak english sentences i always feels hazitation.what’ll i do to overcome from it.Can any body help me?

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  23. How to speak english witout mothertongue influence.

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  25. Hello Muzaffar Ahmed bhai, this is Puneet and i am a true lover of english. But, me too having the problem as everybody having. Atleast give your personal number so that we can contact you

  26. Hi, i am rohit singh fm delhi this my friend email id pz contact on this.
    i am also suffering from this mti problem
    but prolem is that i purs. Bsc from hotel magt. So i ain’t abl to speak ”ro” sound it come out stime. “Lo”,”zo” my name also start with “ro”now i am in final yr. How i would face interview you know the hotel industary their no space for any weakness plz rly what will i do?……thk you

  27. can you please give me some examples for MTI in pronunciation of English?

  28. I would just say prioritize English as your medium for communication. Movies, books and all won’t help much till you put in your effort.

  29. MTI is natural but a regular listening of good teacher is the key for the child to come over.
    anand, teacher

  30. Hi All,

    I was googling about MTI modules and came across this post.

    Here are my few pointers.

    First of all, google on accent neutralization, you will find pdf and supporting audio files.

    Step 1 : Learn phonetics.

    English words are spelt in different ways but might sound alike. For example : Threw, through. instead of learning the spelling, learning the symbols used to show how these words sound is better; as the two words sound identical.

    There are 5 vowels and 21 consonants in the English alphabet.

    In these we have a total of 20 vowel sounds and 24 consonant sounds.

    You need to practice all these 44 sounds repeatedly.

    Step 2 : Use a dictionary

    Try to read the words based on the phonetics which are provided next to each word in the dictionary

    Step 3 : Form simple sentences

    Start off with 2 word sentences and move on to 3 word sentences. Say it out loud. Record it, replay it. You can play words on to check if you are saying it right (depending on american/British) or neutral for that matter.

    Step 4 : If you have issues with your Basic English, then please work on your grammar. It is more fun to learn from movies and radio (podcasts). The newspaper can be a bore. You might want to try novels.

    If you like thrillers then I suggest you read Dan Brown or Mary Higgins Clark.

    Hope this helps 🙂

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