January 19, 2021


Aim for Excellence

The Mother-Tongue (L1) Usage In Teachıng Englısh Perspectıves Of Students And Teachers

Introduction Recently, two  different opinions  have  been discussed about  L1  use in  EFL classes.On  the...


  1. Recently, two  different opinions  have  been discussed about  L1  use in  EFL classes.On  the one  side,  it  is  believed  that L1 should  be  used in  EFL classrooms  with the  opinion of  that  L1 use          reduces anxiety which helpsstudents learn beter (Auerbach, 1993;Reis,1996;Cole,2001;Buckmaster,2000;Toyama,Viney,Helgesen,Bernard & Edge3,2000; and Need  help urgently,2001).On the other side, the benefits  of teaching  English through  English  are emphasized  and  L1  use  is  restricted  (Ellis,1984;Chaudron,1988;and Takahashi,1996).This  view emphaizes  that  the  more  students  are  exposed  to  the target  language,the beter their capabilities  in  the  target  language  will  be.

         Regarding  the  relation  betweenj  the  input  students  receive  in  the  target  language  and the  outcame,Chaudron(1988) states  that :

         ‘’……… in  the typical  foreign  language  classroom,the  common  belief  is  that  the  fullest  competence  in  the  TL (target  language) is  achieved  by  means  of  the  teacher  providing  a  rich TL environment, in  which  not  only  instruction  and  drills  are  executed  in  the  TL, but  also  disciplinary  and  management  operations.” )p.1)

  1.          Exposure  to  L2 and  information  in the  L2  are  claimed to  be  more  important  in  EFL  settings  as  EFL learners  are  generally  not  exposed  to  English  outside  the  classroom  in  their  daily  lives  unless  they  try  to  find some changes  on  their own ( Ellis,1994  and Murhey  & Sasaki, 1998).On the  other  hand  Martin (2000), stated  that  an  effective  EFL teacher  should use  L1  when  necessary  in  EFL classroom. Recenty,  there has  been a growing  interest in  the  use  of  L1 in monolingual  low  level  EFL  classrooms (Reis,1996; Cole,2001; Buckmaster,2000; Hawks,2001; and Toyama,2000). That  is believed  that  use  of  L1  in  the EFL  classrooms  may  be  helpful  in  providing   students  with a  secure  learning  environment.In  relation  to  the pedagogical  benefits  of  L1  when  in  language classes, Auerbach (1993) indicates that :

           ‘’its [L1]  use reduces  anxiety  and enhances  the  effective   environment  for  learning, takes  into  account  sociocultural  factors, facilities incorporation  of  learners’  life  experiences, and  allows  for  learner-centered  curriculum  development.”(p.2)

           Although  it  is  assumed  that L1 use reduces anxiety  in  monolingual  language  classes (Allwright & Bailey ,1991), the  situation  could  be  different  in  advanced  level  classes.For  example, the  findings  of  the study by  Ayd?n (2001)  revealed  that some  advanced  level  students  showed  annoyance  about  L1  use.

  The  potantiel  advantages of  L1 use  are  discussed in  terms  of  grammer, classroom  management, vocabulary   and  methodogical  issuses  in  EFL  classrooms.L1  use  is  not  suggested  for  speaking  activites (Cole, 2001).As Atkinson (1993)  and Galloway (1993)  argue, communicative  language  teaching approach seems  to  avoid  addressing  L1 use.

  1. Using  English  only, in  EFL  classrooms  is  possible  but  it  fails  to  take accounts  of  a number  of  factors.Many  EFL teachers  try  to  use  English as  much as possible  as  they  can  in  the classroom.They  give  instructions  in  English, they  require  students  to  ask  any  kind  og  questions  in  English and  they  say  students  should  use  Englisj  while  working  in  groups  and  pairs  with  their  friends  in  the  classrooms.These are  all probable  and  positive  things in an  EFL classroom.However  the  mother tonguecan  be  used  to   provide a  quick and  accurate  translation  of  an  English  word  that  might  take  several  minutes  for  the  teacher  to  explain.

            Using  English  only, in  EFL classrooms  can  lead  to  some  problems  because  there  would  be  no  guarantee  that  the  insructions  and  explanations  are  understood correctly,  Also  an  English  teacher  can  have  difficulties  in  general  classroom  management  if  he/she  insists  on  using  English  only   Depending  English    only  makes  students  feel  uncomfortable  if  they  have  some  problems  with  speaking  skills.In  addition  students  cannot  combine  the  two  languages  if they  are  restricted  to  use English  in  classroom.

Hopkins (1988:18) claims that ‘’if  the learner  of  a second  language  is  encouraged  to  ignore  his/her  native  language, he/she  might  well  feel   identity  threatened.”

  1.         Because  of  these  problems  caused  by  using  English  only, in  EFL classroom,teachers  should  use  mother  tongue  while  teaching  English  as a second  language.But  EFL   teachers  should  now  to  what  extend  they  should  use  mother  tongue  and  the  effects  of  using  mother  tongue  in  EFL  classrooms.By  taking  the  advantage  of  using  mother  tongue  in  EFL  classrooms  teachers  should  create  the  best  teaching  environment  for  their  students.

        This  study  aims  to  reveal the  opinions  of  mother tongue use in  teaching  tongue  use  in  teaching  English  in  EFL classes  by  showing  true  reasons  whether  EFL  teachers  should  use mother  tongue  or  not.Also, to what extend  mother  tongue  should  be  used  by  EFL  teachers  in  the  classroom.In  order  to  achieve  these aims, observation  methods  and  questionnaires  will be  used  and  the  results  will  be  held  objectively  by  the  researchher.

 When   the literature  on  L1 use in EFL classrooms  is thougt, there seems to be policital  and adeological  reasons  rather  than pedagogical  reasons behind the  challenging  debate on  L1  use (Auerbach,1993; and Hawks,2001). These idealgical / policital  reasons  date  back to the Americanization movement in the 19. centry.While this  movement  give  rise  the spread of ESL instruction, ELT methodology advocated the use of English-only instruction,for example as in direct method, in contrast to the earlier ones in which the use of learners’ L1 had been allowed,as in Gramer-Translation (Celce-Murcia,1991; Auerbach,1993; and Richard & Rodgers, 1986).

         With the  world war I,the number of immigrants increased in America.This immigration  movement made ESL instruction become  more important than ever because  those immigrants were working at  different jobs  and expected  to  speak good  English.This  Americanization  movement  influenced  ELT  methods.For  example; Direct Method, which emphasies  using  English only  with  no L1 was allowed  (Auerbach,1993).

        L1 use in ELT methodology  was not only affected  by the Americanization  movement  but it was also  affected  by  British policies.In the  late 1950s and  early1960s, English  was regarded as  a tool which helps  the spreading colonies  of  Britain.Therefore, L1  use had no  place  in  ELT.In a conference at  Makare Universty, Uganda in 1961, ELT  experts mentioned  that ;

  • English is best taught monalingually
  • The ideal teacher of  English is a native  speaker
  • The earlier  English is taught, the  beter  the results
  • The  more English is  taught, the  beter  the resul?ts
  • If other languages are  used  too much, standarts of  English  will drop (Phillipson, 1992.p.185).

       According to Phillipson (1992), these five  principles say that  there is no place for  L1 in  ELT. The reason for regarding  use of  L1 in  ELT as a taboo is based on  theideological and policital reasons.Spreading English was English was such a  strong  purpose in America and Britain that using L1 was excluded in  ESL during Amercanization movement.

          Researches   in  ELT showed that L1 can be a very important source.The belief that L1 use might play an  important  to improve the  second language has  received great attention in bilingual education (Collingham, 1988; and Piasecka,1988 ) lists the advantages of using learners’ L1 in ESL classrooms like:

  1. Valuing and building on the knowledge that learners already have and bring to the classroom.
  2. Raising the position of  languages  used by ethnic minorities in Britain, which in turn raises the self esteem of the speakers of those languages,making them more confident and effective  learners.
  3. Raising language awareness.Learners already have some linguistic skills and knowledge; by thinking about their own and other languages, a class will learn  more about language and languages in  general.This can speed up aspects  of  learning and  increase learners’ tolerance of one another’s  diffucilties.In  this way students cooperation is  raised and classroom Dynamics are improved.
  4. Using learners’ first language improves learning English.
  5. There is less similarity of  the lesson content being patronizing or childish where  the contributions   students can make in L1 are recognized as important.
  6. Fostering  cooperative  and independent  learning.
  7. Reducing  learner anxiety and increasing confidence and motivation in  the classroom.
  8. Gaining every learner, no matter how limited their knowledge of English, to support to the lesson in many waydepending on their  previous experience (p.82).

Seeing the  list above, Collingham (1988) states the importance of L1 use in bilingual education.

     Atkinson (1987 ) makes a classification  with nine principal occasions and activities  for which L1 use is useful in teachinh / learning process and environment.These nine occasions  (at all levels), giving complex instructions (at early levels), cooperation among learners (at early levels), discussion of classroom methodology (at early levels), presantition  of  language (mainly at  early levels), checking for sense, testing, development of useful learning strategies (advanced  levels). But he mentions not use L1 too much in EFL classes.

          Piasecka (1988 ) suggests possible occasions in  which mother tongue (L1) should  be  used.These occasions are argument of the  syllabus and lesson, setting  the scene at the begining og  class, profiling  and record-keeping, resolving individual areas of diffuculty, classroom management,personal contact, language analysis, instructions or prompts, error explanations,assessment of comprehension, presantation  of  rules, governinf gramer / phonology /morphology and spelling, cross-cultural issues discussion, assessment and avaulation of the  lesson.She says that it is  not only important to know the levels of learners but also the content and the format of the lesson would determine the use of L1 in EFL classes.



               Piasecka   (1988)  states that, L1  is  important  in  ESL  classes.Students levels  of proficiency  in  English  should  be  based on  the  amount  of  L1 use. At  first stages, learners’  knowledge  in  English limited.Therefore tjeir  L1 knowledge could be used to  help  them  improve their English.As learners’ proficiency  level increases, the amount of  L1 use should decrease.

              With  the  knowledge  of  her  observations  and experience Collingham (1988) also  suggests  nine  occasions   in  which  L1  use can be  helpful in  EFL  classrooms : to  discuss  the sykkabus, to develop ideas to  Express  them  in  the L2, to reduce inhibitions  or affective  blocks  to  L2 production, to  elitic language and discourse  strategies, to  teach vocabulary, to  teach  phonology, to  provide explanations of  grammar, to facilitate  comprehension  questions, to  provide essential  information  to  minimize the  change  of  misinterpretation.


 Here  is  a summary  of  the occasions  for L1 use by the  there researchers (figure 1 ):


 PIASECKA (1988 )


1. eliciting language


3.giving complex instruction

4.co-operation among learners

5.discussion of classroom methodology

6.presantation and reinforcement of language

7.checking for sense


9.development of useful learning strategies

1.negotiation of the syllabus and the lesson

2.setting the scene at the begining of class

3.profiling and record keeping

4.resolving individual areas of difficulty


6.personal contact

7.language analysis

8.instructions or  prompts

9.explanation of  errors

10.assessment of comprehension

11.presantation of  rules,governing gramer

12.discussion of  cross cultural issues

13.assessment and evaluation of  lesson

1. to discuss syllabus

2.to developed ideas to Express them in L2

3.to reduce inhibitions or affective blocks to L2 production

4.to elitic language and discourse strategies

5.to  teach vocabulary

6.to  teach vocabulary

7.to provide explanations of gramer

8.to facilitate comprehension questions

9.to provide essential information to minimize the  change of misinterretation

  1. Figure 1. Suggested Occasions for L1 Use (Atkinson,1987,Collingham,1988 and Piasecka,1988)   

   As it is  seen in the Figure 1, the ocasions in  which L1 could be  used are similar.But these suggested L1 occasions are context,specific.Also, there is no support for  the validity of  these occasions.These occasions can  vary in different EFL classroom contexts.

 Advantages of L2-Only Classes

         In  ELT,teacher talk is  very important input for learners because  teacher talk plays a significant  role in  L2 acquisition (Cullen,1988).It  has  been believed  that learners’   fullest  competence of  the target  language environment (Cchaudron,1988;  and Ellis, 1994).Turnbull (2001)  states  that,  this positive relation  between  teacher’s   language use  and  the students’  test  scores  hasn’t  any  statistical  support.

     One  of  the findings  in  a  research  conducted  with ESL educators  in USA  also  showed  that educators  strangly  believed  that.

      ‘’The   more  students  are  exposed   to   English,  the  more  quickly  they  will   learn; as  they   hear  and  use   English, they  will internalize  it  and  begin  to  think  in  English.”(Auerbach, 1993, p.14 )

Educators   thoughts  reflects  the  opinions of  many  other  teachers  but,  Ellis (1994 ) and  Gass (1988)  points  out  that there  is  little  research, which consistently  supports  this  view  ( Ellis  1994 ;  and  Gass 1988 ).

  1.          Related   to  the  L1  use  in  monalingual  EFL  classrooms, many  discussions  have  been occurred.One  of  these  discussions  has  focused  on  the  relation  between  L1  use  and  input  issue.Some  researhers  states  that  EFL  teachers should  use  L1  at  a minimum  degree  because  learners  have  little  exposure  to  L2  outside  the  classroom.Consequently,  EFL  classrooms   and  teachers  are  the  only  L2  sources  of  input  for  EFL  learners  (Polio & Duff, 1994; and Turnbull, 2001 ).Others, state that  exposure  to L2 does not guarantee that  L2  input  would  result  in  input  (Chaudron,1985; Ellis 1994; and Gass, 1988 ).

Advantages  of L1 (mother tongue) Use

     With  regard  to  advantages  and  disadvantages  of  L1  use, it  has  been suggested  that the  use  of  L1  might  help  reduce  learner’ anxiety, which  facilitates  the  lerarning  process (Krashen, 1982; Reis, 1996; Cole, 2001; and Auerbach, 1993 ).

    The  advantage of  L1  use with  respect  to  reducing  anxiety  reminds  us  of  Krashen’s  affective fitler  hypothesis.In his affective  fitler hypothesi Krashen (1982 )  states  that allowing  students  to  use L1  helps  them  lower  their affective filter.

  1.      Reis  (1996 ) states  when  teaching  English  through  English, he observed  that his  students  were not  content  with  his  teaching  English throuh  English.He  tried  to  convince  them  them  about  the  advantages  of  the  mazimum  use  of  English  in  the  classroom, but  he  cannot  succeed. As  a  result, he  come to a conllusion  wit  his students  and  they  together  decided  to allow  five  minutes  of  L1  use  in  each  class sessions. This  five  minutes  of  L1  was called  the ‘’L1 break.” As  Reis (1996 )  puts  L1  break, it appearead  to  have  impressive  effect  both  on  him  and  the  students by reducing  students’  affective   fitler   and  created  a  friendly  nice  classroom  environment.

      Cole  (2001)   also supports  the  thought  that  L1  is  the  most  useful  at  begining  and  low   levels  because  it  can  provide  students  with  a  more  secure  and  easy  to  learn  atmosphere  in  class.However,  the  situation  would  be  different  in  advanced  level  monolingual  EFL  classrooms. Ayd?n (2001)  investigated  the  sources  og  EFL  classroom  anxiety  in  advantec  level  speaking  and  writing  classes  at  the  faculty  of  ELT  department.The  results  showed  that  L1  use  in  the classroom  is  one  of  the anxiety  sources.Some  students  reported  annoyance  about  L1  use  while  others  found  L1  use  helpful.

       One  yje  other  hand, it  is  believed  that  frequent  L2  use  makes  students  to  feel  anxious.Levince (2003)  made  a  research  to  test  this  belief.In  her  study, she  investigated  the  hypothesis  that L2  use  by teachers  and students  correlated  positively  with students’  sense  of  anxiety  about  L2  use. The  results  of  the  research  showed  a  negative  relation  between  reported  amounts  of  L2 use  reported  L2-use anxiety.This  result  suggests that :

        ‘’…   greater  L2  use  may  not translate  into  greater  anxiety   for  many  learners   and that many students feel  comfortable with  more  L2 when that  is  what  they are used to.” (Levince,1003, p.355)

As s consequence; it  is  not  possible  to conclude that L1 reduces  anxiety  and, so  helps  beter   learning  of  English.Similarly,  it  cannot  be  said  that  L2  use is  more  beneficial  in  terms  of  lowering  anxiety.

L1 Use in Communicative  Language  Teaching

         Despite  the thought  that L1 use  reduces  learners’  anxiety  and facilitate  their  learning  process, L1  use  has  not  been advocated  in  communicative  language teaching  and task-based  learning  methods  ( Duff & Polio,1990; Polio & Duff, 1994; Cook, 2001; and  Rolin-Ianziti, 2002). Although, experts  claim  that  communicative  language  teaching  has  referred to  neither  the advantages nor  disadvantages   of  L1  use, it  is  believed  that  L1  use  should  not  have  a place in communicative  classes  (Piasecka, 1988  and  Cook, 2001 ).

  1.          Although, the  discussion  about  the  L1  use  in  EFL  classes  is  as  old  as  the  history   of  foreign  language  methodology, as Piesecka (1988) points out, there are no  bases  showing the  disadvantages   of  L1  use  or supporting  the  use of  L1.Many  studies  focus  on   the  occasions  in  which  L1  is  used  or  the  reasons  for  the  use of  L1  in  the classroom  rather  than investigating  the  effect  of  L1  use  on  learners’  performances,  which  could  provide  a  useful  solution  to  the  problem.

Occasions  of Reasons  for  and  Attitudes  towards  L1  Use

       The  researches  investigated  some  issues  about  whether  or  not to  use  L1  in  the  classroom.the studies  related to  L1  use have  focused  mainly on  teachers’  more than  learners’  use  of  L1  and their  reasons  for  L1  use and attitudes  towards  L1  use  have  beeb  investigated.

          Duff and  Polio (1990) concluded  a research  on  the  l!  Use  frequency, reasons  for  using  L1, perception  of  L1  use  and  attitudes  towards  L1  use  in  foreign  language  classsrooms  at  the  Unjiversity  of  California, Los Angeles ( UCLA). They  studied  three  issuses  related  to  L1  use  in  an EFL  classroom.First, the  ratio  of  L1  use  by the  teachers  in  the  classroom  was  examined. Second  issue  was  the  factors  related  to  the  use  of  L1  and L2.

  1.       The  third  was  on  teachers’  and  students’ perceptions   and  attidudes  towards  the  use  of  L1  in  the  foreign  language  classrooms.13  different  foreign  language  classes and  their  teachers  were the  participants   of  the  study.The data  were  collected  through  audio-recordings, classroom  observations, student  questionnaires  and teacher  interviews.The  results  showed  that  teachers’  L1 use  changes  from  to 0  in  26  hours  of  smpled  classroom  sessions.This  wide changes  in  the percentages  was  explained  in  the  thre  factors  related  to  the  use  of  L1  and  L2.the analysis  of  audi-recordings, classroom  observation  and teacher  interviews  suggested  that  teachers’ L1 proficiency, language  type  taught, departmental  policy, lesson  content, materials  used  and  teachers’  formal  teacher  trining  might  have  had  an  effect  on  the  amount  of  L1  and  L2  use  in  classrooms.On  the  other  hand, the  findings  suggested  that  there  werw no  relation  between  teaching  experience  and  L1  and  L2  usage.It  was  reported  that  many  teachers  in  the  study  believed   that  trying  to  explain  a  point  in  L2  was  a  waste  of  time.Instead  L1  would  be  much  more  functional  and  suitable  and it  was  time. Some  teachers  stated  that L2  use  put  a  kind  of  pressure  on  students  although  frequent  L2  use  could  facilkitate  their  learning  process.Other  teacher  participants  said  that  they  used L1  rather  than L2 because  students  knowledge  of  L2  was  limited.

             In  another  study  by  Polkio and  Duff (1994)  revealed  when  or  for  what  function  Foreign  language  (FL)  teachers  used  L1.There  were thirteen  teachers  in  that  study  and  they  were  teaching  in  all  four  skills  in  monolingual classes  and  students  native  language  (L1)  was  English.The  teachers’  native  language  was  the  target  language (TL).As  in  the  previous  study, the researchers  used  audio-recordings, observations  and  teacher  interviews  to  collect  data  fort he  study.In  the  interviews  the  teachers  were  asked  to  state  how, when  and  the  extent  to  which  they  would  usually  use  English, L1  in  their  classrooms.Later, the classes were observed  and  recorded.When  the  teachers  were  asked  their  reasons  for  L1  use  in  FL  classes, they  stated  that  they  used  L1  to  take the  students  attention  on  important  issues  such  as  exams  and  quizzes, to  save  time  and  to create empathy, to practice  English, to  explain  unknown  vocabulary  items  and  there was  a  lack of comprehension.But in the interviews, some  teachers  said  that occasions  for L1  use  suggest  that  teachers  were not  aware  of  the  exten of  their  L1  useçPolio  and Duff (1994) state ‘’speakers in social  settings  are  often  simply  unaware  of  their  language  use  in  given  situation” (p.323).


  1.                  Murhey  and  Sasaki (1998) invstigated  Japanese  English  teachers’  use  of  English  in  the  classroom.Secondly, the  teachers  explained  reasons  for  not  speaking  more  English.At  last,teachers’ facilitative  beliefs  and  strategies  they  used  to  increase  the  amount  of  English  use  in  the  classroom  were determined.The findings  of  the  study  showed  that  these  teachers’  use  of  more  English  in  their  classes  depended  on  their  experiences  in  their  teaching  carriers.In the informal  talks, the  teachers  claimed  seven  reasons  for  speaking  Japanese  instead  of  English  in  their classrooms.The  seven  reasons  were  these :  1. using  Japanese  is  more  comfortable, 2. to get  through  the information  faaster, 3. Using  Japanese  feels  more natural (as they  were  all  Japanese), 4. Principals,  parents  and  students  want  the  teachers  to  teach  for  the entrance  exams  which  is  in  Japanese, 5. Getting  through  the  book  is  possible  when  Japanese  is  also  used, 6. The    netrance  exam  does  not  test  English  listening  and  speaking, therefore  there  is  no  need  to  study  them, 7. The  textbook is difficult  so  needed  to be translated  into Japanese  so  the  students  can understand it.
  1.             Murhey  and  Sasaki  (1998) tests  their  stu?dy  about  its  reliability  of  the  interview  data.They  suggest  that  current  estimates  of  English/L2  use  in  the  classroom  should  be   determined  by  the  help  of  various  methods  or  by  recording  thee classes ,  and  by  increasing  the  number  of  teacher  or  student  interviews.
  1.            Jr. Schweerw (1999) made  a study  on  the  use  of  mother tongue (L1) in  english  classes  at  the  Universty  of  Puerto  Rico.The  aim  of  the  study  was  to  determine  the  frequency  and  reasons  of  L1  (Spanish) use  and  attitudes  of  teachers  and  students  towards  L1  use  in  the  English  classroom.Four  teachers  participated  in  this  study.The  data  of  the  study  come  from  two  sources: audio-recordings of  35  minute  samples  from  three  classes at  the beginning,  middle  and  the  end  of  the  semester  and  a  short  questionnaire  was  given  both  the  four  teacher  participants  and  the  19  other  professors  in  the  department.In  addition, a similar  questionnaire   about  the  attitudes   towards  the  L1  use  in  the  English  classes  was  given  to  the  students  of  all  the  professors  who  filled  out  the  questionnaire.the  students’  answers  to  the  attitude  questionnaire  showed  that  Spanish  should  be  used  to

Some extent in English classes because a majority o fthe students believed that the use of Spanish helps them learn English better. The teachers’ answers to the questions ‘If you use Spanish in your classroom,why do you think this may be more effective than using English exclusively?’ asked the reasons of L1 use in the classroom.The reasons given by the four teachers were as it shows:

            Teacher 1:”Sometimes it is more important for students to understand a concept tahn it is for that concept  to be explained exclusively in English.”

            Teacher 2:”In my writing courses, I use some Spanish because it helps students write beter reports. It also serves as an additional input to ensure that that they achieve the main objective of the course, which is the production of higher quality written work in English.”

            Teacher 3:”First of all I use Spanish to establish rapport with my students, and secondly, to serve as a model person who speaks both languages and uses each one whenever necessary or convenient.”

            Teacher 4:”I think students can identify better with a teacher who speaks to them in their own language, thereby letting them know that you respect and value their native language.”

Although the analysis of the recordings indicated the occasions where the four professors used Spanish, a statistical and descriptive report was not provided in the article.

            Turnbull(2000) also carried out an investigation to determine the reasons of 4 teachers’ use of French(L2) and English(L1) or a mixture of both languages in their core French classes in Canada. All the teacher participants were native speakers of English and experienced in the profession. The data were based on the observations which took place nearly 8 weeks—an average of ten class hours for each teacher, or an average of 400 minutes per class. In the classes, the same Project based teaching unit was taught. Although the data analysis was mainly based on the teacher talk analysis method used by Polio and Duff(1994),many of the classifications came out of the data.The transcripts were divided into functional units and each functional unit was engaged to one of the three  categories:social,academic or management.Each functional unit was coded as L1(English),L2(French) or mix(both languages).The results showed that the majority of the reasons for L1 and L2 use was academic based rather than social or management.

            Like Murhey and Sasaki(1998),Turnbull also discusses the limitations of his study. He points out that semi-structured interwiews with the teachers about their used of French and English would have enhanced the reliability of the data analysis. It is suggested that video-recordings followed by semi structured interwiews should be used to determine EFL teachers’ use of L1 and L2 in the classroom.

            In relation to attitudes towards L1 use, Al-Busaidi(1998) investigated teachers’ and students’ attitudes towards the use of L1 in EFL classrooms in Oman. The results showed that students’ level is the most  influential factors that effected a teachers’ decision to use L1 in the classroom. In addition, these teachers preferred L1 when explaining the similarities or differences between L1 and L2 in considering grammar and vocabulary. The students’ use of L1,on the other hand, was most frequent in group work activities in which students were to use the target language to communicate and practice. The findings also showed that the teachers’attitude towards L1 use in the classroom was negative whereas the students showed positive attitudes. Students in lower level classes were more positive  about L1 use when compare to higher level students. This findings supports the thought that there is a relation between EFL learners’ proficiency level and L1 use in the classroom.(Reis, 1996; Cole,2001; and Hawks,2001).

            Takahaski(1996) made a study on Japanese teachers’ L1 use in the classroom and its influence on the students. This study aimed at finding a)the percentage of English and L1 used in the classrooms, b)whether or not the teachers and students are satisfied with the percentage of English and L1 use, c) when both the students and teachers think the teacher should use L1 in class, and d) how much the amount of the teachers’ English influence the students. A questionnaire that investigated the four issues listed above was developed for students and teachers. The students of English classes and their teachers at the English department of Nagoya College completed this questionnaire. In addition to the questionnaires, &Japenese teachers’ ‘reading comprehension’ and ‘dialogue’ classes of English were tape recorded and semi structured interviews with both the teachers and students were held. The results showed that English was used from and 0 range.

            Most of the teachers said that they were satisfied with the amount of English they used in the classroom while they were not satisfied with the amount of L1 use. All teachers believed that L1 should be used when teaching grammar. The students in the study said that English rather than Japanese should be used in many occasions.

            Rollin-Ianziti(2002) conducted a study to determine when French teachers used English, L1 in the foreign language context at the University of Queensland. Four teachers teaching French participated in the study. These teachers’ classes were audio-recorded for about six hours in a week. During the recordings, the teachers were informed that their classes would be recorded for the use of L1 in their speech. The results showed that the four teachers used L1 for these purposes: a)translation, b)metalinguistic uses, and c) communicative uses.

            As the review of literature shows, there are some factors effecting L1 use in a language classroom. Some of these factors are, learners’ level of target language, teaching and learning context, materials, content and type of the lesson. Also we can infer from the literature review that the findings of one study investigating occasions, reasons for and attitudes towards L1 use in an EFL classroom might be different from those of other studies because issues are context-specific. Consequently, the finding of one study in the review of literature cannot be generalized. The data of such a study should be collected with the help of various methods or ways so the reliability of the data should not be questioned as Murhey and Sasaki (1998) and Turnbull(2000) stated.

            This study aims at finding out the opinions of teachers and students in EFL process about the L1 use. It also investigates the reasons and occasions of the L1 use in EFL classrooms. These studies and beliefs in the review of literature related to L1 use is regarded as a guide to our research.

            The Study:                                          

This study aimed at investigating basically two issues on L1 use in EFL classes. The study consists of two phases. In Phase 1,the occasions of and reasons for L1 use in EFL classes were investigated. In this phase, EFL students were asked how much mother tongue they used during English lessons. In the Phase 2,EFL teachers were asked how much mother  tongue they used during English lessons.

            Two group of people participated in this study,one was the instructors’ group and the other was the learners’ group. 3 EFL teachers and 62 EFL students of an Anatolian High School took part in this study. Two of the instructors are female an one is male. Forty one of the learners are female and twenty one are male. The level of the students’ is upper-intermediate and they all nearly have the same level of English and they are 16-17 year-old 10th grade students. One of the EFL teachers has 4 years experience, the other one has 8 years experience and the last one has 11 years teaching experience.

            This study aimed to investigate opinions of EFL teachers and students towards the use of mother tongue(L1). In addition to that, this study will also clarify the reasons of L1 use, and will show which occasions L1 is used in the EFL classroom. In order to achieve these aims a  descriptive design was held. At the end of the research the data were analyzed.

            In this study two questionnaires were used. One was given to  the EFL students while the other was given to the EFL instructors of Anatolian H?gh School. Both instructor and student questionnaires aimed at investigating the following issues:

1)      When instructors and students in EFL classes use  L1 (mother tongue)?

2)       Why instructors and students in EFL classes use L1 (mother tongue) ?

3)       The occasions in which L1 is used in EFL classes according to the instructors and students.

The following steps were taken to produce the final versions of both the instructor and student questionnaire.

  1. The L1 use occasions questionnaires was developed and adopted by the researcher. While developing the Belinda Ho Fong Wan Kam’s(1998) questionnaire was consulted. In additon, Atkinson’s(1987),Piasecka’s(1988) and Collingam’s(1988) suggestions on L1 use helped in developing the items in questionnaires.
  2. After the questionnaires were developed according to researcher’s aims, researcher firstly distributed the questionnaires to the students(see Appendix A), the questionnaires were in two languages(Turkish and English)in order not to let any misunderstandings(see Appendix A and B).After the students answered the questionnaires at the beginning of the lesson,researcher collected the data of this study from the students.
  3. Also these questionnaires were in two languages(Turkish and English) in order not to let any misunderstandings(see Appendix A and B).After they filled the questionnaires the data of the instructor questionnaire was colleceted.
  4. At the end of the data collection part 62 EFL students and 3 EFL instructors stated their L1 use opinions and occasions.

      The data for this study were collected from the questionnaires(see Appendix A and B)about the L1 use  occasions in EFL classes of  Anatolian High School in the first term of 2007-2008 education year. To collect data a questionnaire was distributed to the students about the L1 use occasions in EFL classes and a questionnaire was distributed to EFL instructors about L1 use occaisons in courses they attended.

            For this study,multiple choice frequency questionnnaires were held both fort he EFL instructors and students.Questionnnaires were applied to three EFL teacher and sixty two students.The questionnaires were both in Turkish and English in order to be understand clearly by all of the participants.With the help of study the attitudes of the participants and occasions were learned fort he L1 use in the EFL classrooms.


Data Analysis and Discussion of the Findings:

             In this study,L1(Turkish) use in EFL classes was examined in two phases.In the first phase occaisons in which L1 is used were investigated.The second phase was designed to determine the occasions in which L1 is used by the EFL teachers in their English courses.In order to determine the occasions,two questionnaires were held by the researcher.One was applied to the instructors and the other was applied to the students in EFL classes.3 instructors and 64 students applied to the questionnaire.

L1 use has long been discussed in ELT.Some researchers advocate the use of L1 in ELT classes based on the assumption that it reduces anxiety and therefore promotes better learning(Reis, 1996; Cole, 1998; Buckmaster, 2000; Toyama, Viney, Helgesen, Barnard&Edge, 2000; and Hawks, 2001).Others on the other hand,believe that L1 use is disadvantageous because it prevents learners from exposing the target language(Ellis, 1984; Chaudron, 1998 and Takahaski, 1996).L1 use in EFL classroom is still a controversial issue.The present study,therefore,investigated the opinions of L1 use in EFL classes.The study also investigated L1 use occasions in EFL classes.

            This study investigated the issues related to L1 use in two phases. In the first phase the occasions in which students use mother tongue was determined and in the second phase the occasins in which English teachers use mother tongue was determined.

            Both in the first and second phase, the data were collected through questionnaires applied to the students and teachers. To determine the occasions in which mother tongue(L1) is used 64 students and 3 teachers were given a questionnaire. The students and teachers questionnaire were different from each other.

            The results of the questionnaires revealed that instructors and students used L1(Turkish),on different occasions. Students stated that they frequently used L1 to chat with classmates(