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International Journal of English Language

and Translation Studies


[ISSN: 2308-5460]

Vol-01, Issue-02
[July-September, 2013]

Editor-in-Chief
Mustafa Mubarak Pathan
Department of English Language & Translation Studies
The Faculty of Arts, the University of Sebha
Sebha, Libya

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International Journal of English Language & Translation Studies ISSN: 2308-5460


Table of Contents
Sr.
No.
1
2

10
11
12

13

14

15

16

Title of the Paper / Name of the Author(s)/ Country


Editorial
A Socio-linguistic Perspective to the Language Change of Television News
Broadcasting in Iran
- Shahla Simin, Hosna Kasma ee, Atiye Ezzati, Freshteh Teimouri &
Arineh Minasian, Iran
EFL Learners Difficult Role Transition from Secondary School to University:
From the P erspective and Perceptions of EFL Teachers of TBLT in Western
China
- Feng Teng, China
English Language Teaching and Learning during Holiday Camps: A Case Study
from Malaysia
- Dr. Ria Hanewald, Malaysia
English Metafunction Analysis in Chemistry Text: Characterization of Scientific
Text
- Ahma d Amin Dalimunte, M.Hum, Indonesia
Investigating the Difficulties Faced in Understanding, and Strategies Used in
Processing, English Idioms by the Libyan Students
- Noura Winis Ibrahim Saleh & Dr. Moha mmed Hassan Zakaria ,
Malaysia
MALL (Mobile Assisted Language Learning): A Paradise for English Language
Learners
- Dr. Suneetha Yedla, India
Metaphors about EFL Teachers' Roles: A Case of Iranian Non-English-Major
Students
- Mohsen Akbari, Iran
Mother Tongue Influence : A Thorn in the Flesh of Technocrats in the Global
Market
- Dr. S. Mohan, India
Teaching Creative Thinking Skills
- Dr. Nagamurali Eragamreddy, Libya
The Importance of a Dystopia n Hero in Sara Gruens Water for Elephants
Bassmah Bassam Khaled AlTaher, Jordan
The Leverage of a Proposed Post Process Writing Approach Program on
Developing the EFL Al-Azhar Secondary Students' Writing Skills
- Ismail Ibrahim Elshirbini Abdel-Fattah El-Ashri, Egypt
The Translator's Agency and the Ideological Manipulation in Translation: the
Case of Political Texts in Translation Classrooms in Iran
- Katayoon Afzali , Iran
The Use of Photo-Elicitation Interview in Sociolinguistics: The Case Study of
Awareness about the Use of Borrowings in Tlemcen Speech Community Algeria
- Mrs. Rahmoun-Mrabet Razzia, Alger ia
Uncertainty and Uncertainty Management: the Metacognitive State of ProblemSolving of Professional (experienced) Translators and Students of Translation
Studies
- Zahra Amirian & Moha mad J. Baghiat, Iran
Using Native Language in ESL Classroom
- Dr. Isa SPAHIU, Macedonia

Vol-1, Issue-2

July-September, 2013

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Page
Number
03
04-08

09-23

24-37

38-49

50-65

66-72

73-82

83-90

91-105
106-119
120-141

142-151

152-161

162-175

176-179

International Journal of English Language & Translation Studies ISSN: 2308-5460

Using Native Language in ESL Classroom


Dr. Isa SPAHIU
International Balkan Universit y
Macedonia
Abstract
The debate over whether to use or not to use to learners L1 inside the classroom has always
been the topic o f discussio n for various people for various reasons. The debate has also
invo lved ESL/EFL teachers. So me argue that such use may lead to more dependence o f an
ESL/EFL on his/her L1 that may hinder the progress of mastering the target language.
Whereas others believe that the use o f an ESL/EFL learners L1 may ease the process of
teaching and learning the target language as the teachers can explain co mplex ideas and rule
more effect ively in learners L1 saving a lot of t ime. This use can also assist the ESL/EFL
learners in acquiring and mastering target language vocabulary. Keeping in mind such
counter arguments, the present paper aim to invest igate when to use native language in a class
and, most importantly, how to use it and pro mote learning, advantages and disadvantages of
using nat ive language in classroom, how to encourage students to use L2 appropriately, and
exploring some of the best ways to teach English language.
Keywords: Native Language, Advantages of L1, L1 Dependence, Target language

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International Journal of English Language & Translation Studies ISSN: 2308-5460


1. Introduction
The use o f nat ive language in ESL classes has been debated for a long time. The use of nat ive
language is not a problem but the English teachers are concerned about its appropriate use
and when it is necessary to use. Should teachers use the students first language in the
English classroom? There are many dilemmas whether to use the nat ive language in an
English language classroom or not. Many teachers are either for or against it. Those who are
against consider that their main reason is the risk of creating nat ive language dependence and
thus prevent ing students effort to find the meaning from explanat ions or contexts. According
to Ellis (1994) several authors maintain that L1 has no essent ial ro le to play in EFL teaching
and that too much L1 use might deprive learners of valuable input in the L2.
But there are other, also strong arguments for using students native language, believing that
nat ive language is helpful in explaining co mplex idea and grammar rules and also helps
students learning new vocabulary more effectively, and prevent ing the waste of t ime in
explanat ions and instructions. However, the idea of avo iding nat ive language is too stressful
for many students and it is teachers responsibility to create a comfortable class and help
students feel confident and interact independent ly. What is the best way to learn a second
language? What is the best way to teach a second language? There are no instant recipes. No
quick and easy method is guaranteed to provide success. Every learner is unique. Ever y
teacher is unique. Every learner-teacher relat ionship is unique, and every context is unique.
Brown (2000: 14) 1
2. Aims and Objectives
The nat ive language is o ften seen as a co mplex feature of the English classroom and there are
many dilemmas whether to use nat ive language in ESL class. Many teachers experience
suggests that native language can make posit ive contribut ion to English learning while so me
other proponents of L2 continue to believe that English should be taught through English, and
not by the use o f nat ive language, which has to be avo ided in the classroom. The key for the
teacher seems to be using the nat ive language appropriately and avo iding the over-use which
will make learners feel that they cannot understand the content until it is translated into their
nat ive language.
All o f these factors form the basis for the need of this study. In that regard, the present study
aims at the fo llowing:
Knowing when to use nat ive language in a class and, most importantly, how to use it and
promote learning.
Advantages and disadvantages of using nat ive language in classroom.
To find out how to encourage students to use L2 appropriately.
Exploring so me of the best ways to teach English language.
3. Methodology
There are number of different ways in which L1 researchers, wit h useful methodological
procedures, tried to invest igate and ident ify the ESL learners needs. The aim o f these
methodologies was to gain familiarit y with the issue, and to obtain a deeper understanding
about the topic. L1 researchers used variet y of research methods, including quest ionnaires,

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International Journal of English Language & Translation Studies ISSN: 2308-5460


classroom observat ions and interviews. This sectio n of the paper provides the informat ion
regarding participants, materials and related procedures.
Cianflo ne (2009), in his research on L1 use in English courses at the Universit y o f Messina in
Italy, found that the interviewed students and teachers seemed favorable to L1 use in terms of
explanat ion o f grammar, vocabulary items, difficult concepts and for general co mprehensio n.
Some other studies have also ident ified students needs and opinio ns related to the use of
both languages in English classroom. There were also many experimental researches in
schools where all English teachers were non-nat ive speakers, and they all shared the same
language.
In the present study, different quest ionnaires were given to ESL teachers and students. The
aim o f the methodology was to discover their opinio ns and attitudes toward using nat ive
language in the English classroom. English teachers through the questionnaire focused on the
subjects opinions toward the use of nat ive language and they gave various opinio ns
regarding the use o f the learners nat ive language. The learners views were also assessed in
order to gain insight into their opinio ns regarding the use o f their native language in their
ESL classroom. the fo llowing section sums these results obtained fro m the data analysis and
discussio n.
4. Results
The analysis and the discussio n o f the data revealed that most of the teachers and students
believe that it was necessary and acceptable to use native language in teaching. The
arguments presented for the use o f nat ive language of the learners ins ide the classroom in
some situations include:
Native language saves great deal of t ime
Helps clarify the meaning of difficult words
Prevents the misunderstanding of the meaning of new word
Helps to explain grammar rules
Provides a sense o f securit y and confidence
Provides a better possibilit y to give instructions more effect ively
The arguments presented by the students to just ify the use of the nat ive language inside the
classroom for teaching and learning ESL include:
Native language gives a sense of securit y and helps feel less stressful
By being able to use both languages they are less confused
They feel the need to express their ideas and thoughts in their own language
They prefer translat ing difficult context and words
They feel necessary the teachers use of nat ive language in grammar explanations
In fact, there is no rule that you should never use native language in English class and it
cannot be rejected since it fulfills certain funct ions and purposes for the learners.
5. Conclusions
The use of nat ive language in ESL classes has been discussed for a long time. One o f the
problems that teachers so met imes face wit h students who all share the same nat ive language
is that they use their native language rather than English to perform classroom tasks. This
may be because they want to communicate something important, and so they use language in

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International Journal of English Language & Translation Studies ISSN: 2308-5460


the best way they know. They will almost certainly find speaking in their language a lot
easier than struggling wit h English Jeremy, (1998)2
Regarding the use of the native language in English classroom, it is important to find out how
students themselves feel about it.
I always feel nervous when speaking English.
My English appear is not good enough; I cant express very well.
I feel bad in my mind because I wonder why I cant speak English very well.
These kinds o f statements are o ften declared by foreign learners and o ften heard by teachers
and this indicates to an important issue that needs to be discussed.
Here are some ideas presented by a well-known Brit ish linguist G. Cook (Cook, 2007)
The ESL classroom cannot fo llow the motto One nation, one people, one language.
The importance is highlighted even more by the fact that the students culture is part of their
language and by neglecting their language, the teacher, in a mono lingual classroom, neglects
their culture which leads to the danger of neglecting their ident it y as well. What is more,
there is no valid database that could confirm the standpo int that the mo no lingual approach in
teaching is the best one. The disregard of the students mother tongue can in fact de-motivate
the students and be counterproductive. Therefore, there is neit her a scient ific nor a pedagogic
reason to exclude L1 fro m the teaching process
1

Brown, H. Douglas (2000): Principles of Language Learning and Teaching, Prent ice Hall
Regent, USA p.14
2
Harmer, Jeremy (1998): How to teach English, Pearson Education Limited, England. P.129
About the Author:
Dr. Isa SPAHIU ho lds Ph. D in English and works as a member of teaching facult y o f the
International Balkans Universit y, Macedonia. He has published various research papers in
International journals and also participated in national and internat ional conferences. His
major areas of research interest include- ELT, ESP and Translation.
References
Brown, H. Douglas (2000): Principles of Language Learning and Teaching, Prent ice Hall
Regent, USA
Cianflo ne, E. (2009) '' L1 use in English courses at universit y level'', in ESP World Journal,
vol.8
Ellis, Rod (1994): The Study of Second Language Acquis it ion, Oxford Universit y Press,
USA
Guy, Cook (2003): Applied Linguist ics, Oxford Universit y Press, USA
Harmer, Jeremy (1998): How to teach English, Pearson Education Limited, England.

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