Judiciousness of mother tongue use in EFL classroom

Proceedings of ‏The 2nd International Conference on New Trends in Teaching and Education

Year: 2020


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Judiciousness of mother tongue use in EFL classroom

Radu Burdujan



The use of mother tongue in EFL teaching process is an inevitable component if both the teacher and the student have the same mother tongue (L1) and when both English and L1 are the medium of instruction. Different teaching methods had different attitudes towards mother tongue use in EFL classroom from strict prohibition to its extensive use. There is not even the unanimity among EFL teachers about this issue nowadays. It is a common perception that the foreign language (L2) acquisition is strongly influenced by the student’s first language. That’s because, ‘foreign’ accents appear in the L2 speech of students. Although, the importance of mother tongue along with foreign language developing is now widely accepted among researchers, there is the danger of L1 overuse and therefore L2 underuse in EFL classroom. The article provides some reasons for the L1 use in the EFL classroom and makes some suggestions about the ties between the L1 and the L2 while teaching / learning a foreign language. There are several reasons why learners actually use the L1 when they should be using the L2. So, it was necessary to introduce the concept of judicious use of mother tongue in EFL classroom recommended in educational situations listed in the article. The conclusion stays in the fact that both, the EFL teacher and the students cannot avoid the mother tongue while teaching and learning. Therefore, the article tries to overcome the disputed issue under discussion.

Keywords: foreign language acquisition; foreign language underuse/overuse; (inter)cultural skills; language learning process; learner/teacher interaction.