Although the term L1 does not automatically imply the use of translation, there seems to be a series of common grounds and arguments for and against their use in foreign language classes (Leonardi 2010). The use of L1 in the EFL class has always been at the core of heated controversies in the history of second language acquisition. Many language practitioners agree upon the fact that the use of the mother tongue should be minimised and that of the target language should be maximised in any foreign language course. Others firmly follow the so-called ‘monolingual approach’ or ‘communicative approach’ where the ‘English-only’ policy is the key factor to successful learning. This work, however, supports the ‘bilingual approach’ to language learning in line with recent research in applied linguistics which shows that the first language also plays a significant role in the learning process. This paper is aimed at showing the potentially beneficial role of the mother tongue in the EFL class and it will be argued that language learning can be positively supported by a functional use of L1 in a sort of ‘bilingual approach’. L1 can be, indeed, a valuable and efficient learning aid to improve learner communicative competence. The use of L1 is often associated with the use of the so-called ‘Grammar-Translation’ method which was badly criticised in the past and, as a result, both the use of translation and L1 were banned from the foreign language class. Nowadays, however, there are significant and visible signs of revival of both translation and the use of L1 in language teaching according to recent literature on applied linguistics. In order to analyse the amount of L1 use in the EFL classes and its advantages and/or disadvantages, a survey will be carried out to test both EFL teachers and students at university level. The aim of this paper is therefore twofold: Firstly, the role of L1 in foreign language classes will be explained by referring to some important theories developed within the field of second language acquisition; secondly, focus will be laid upon the discussion of the survey results aimed at showing how EFL teachers and students perceive the role of L1, how they use it and what are the implications for their choice.
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|Titolo:||I Know You Are Italian, But Please Think in English!: The Role of L1 in the EFL Classes|
|Autori interni:||LEONARDI, Vanessa|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2012|
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