The Use of Native Language in ELT Classrooms


The use of mother tongue in learning second/foreign language classrooms has long been a controversy in the field of language teaching. To understand the background of the controversy, this paper tries to review the treatment of a first language by leading language teaching methods. After that, the review is focused on the results of current research on whether the use of the first language hinders or assists second/foreign language acquisition. The discussion shows that the ideas and results of existing research have not been able to end the controversy. However, it is obvious that the use of a native language is dynamic and includes a variety of complex things. Taking into account the various factors involved, teachers can wisely determine to permit or prohibit the use of mother tongue in second/foreign language classrooms.

Key words: native language, learning strategy, language teaching method

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