L2 Learners’ Perceptions of Using L1 in EFL Classrooms / İngilizce Öğrenenlerin Dil Sınıflarında Ana Dil Kullanımına İlişkin Algıları

Hüseyin Öz, Fulda Karaazmak


Most foreign or second (L2) language teaching happens in classrooms where teachers and learners share the same first language (L1), and there has been a long-standing controversy over using L1 in language teaching classrooms. Thus, the present study sought to explore English learners’ perceptions about using their L1 in English as a foreign language (EFL) classrooms. The study further aimed to investigate whether English proficiency level had any effect on learners’ preferences of using L1 in English classrooms. A total of 75 EFL learners enrolled in an English preparatory program at a foundation university in Ankara voluntarily participated in the study. Data were collected using a questionnaire to determine participants’ views on using their L1 in English classes. The results revealed that EFL learners supported the use of English as the only medium of instruction in EFL classrooms and English proficiency level had an effect on learners’ preferences of using L1. Findings also indicated that learners with a low level of English proficiency had more positive opinions about using L1 in EFL classrooms as opposed to learners with a high level of English proficiency. On the other hand, regardless of the proficiency level, all participants agreed that they might use their L1 in the class if they really needed to do so. Another significant finding of the study was that learners’ willingness to use L1 in the classroom decreased as their English proficiency level increased. In line with these findings, further recommendations were proposed regarding the place of L1 in EFL classrooms.

Anahtar Kelimeler

L1 use, EFL learners, English proficiency level.

Tam Metin:



Almoayidi, K. A. (2018). The effectiveness of using L1 in second language classrooms: A controversial issue. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 8(4), 375-379.

Alshehri, E. (2017). Using learners’ first language in EFL classrooms. IAFOR Journal of Language Learning, 3(1), 20-33.

Blackman, N. (2014). EFL teachers’ perceptions on the use of L1 in a primary and secondary classroom in Belarus. (Unpublished master’s thesis). University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.

Brown, H. (2000). Principles of language learning and teaching. San Francisco, CA: Longman.

Burden, P. (2000). The use of the students’ mother tongue in monolingual English “conversation” classes at Japanese universities. The Language Teacher, 24(6), 5-10.

Campa, J. C., & Nassaji, H. (2009). The amount, purpose, and reasons for using L1 in L2 classrooms. Foreign Language Annals, 42(4), 742-759.

Carson, E., & Kashihara, H. (2012). Using the L1 in the L2 classroom: The students speak. The Language Teacher, 36(4), 41-48.

Çelik, S. (2008). Opening the door: An examination of mother tongue use in foreign language classrooms. Hacettepe University Journal of Education, 34, 75-85.

Chavez, M. (2016). The first language in the foreign language classroom: Teacher model and student language use – an exploratory study. Classroom Discourse, 7(2), 131–163.

Copland, F., & Neokleous, G. (2011). L1 to teach L2: Complexities and contradictions. ELT Journal, 65(3), 270-280.

Critchley, M. (1999). Bilingual support in English classes in Japan: A survey of student opinions of L1 use by foreign teachers. The Language Teacher, 23(9), 10-13.

Debreli, E. (2016). Perceptions of non-native EFL teachers’ on L1 use in L2 classrooms: Implications for language program development. English Language Teaching, 9(3), 24-32.

Debreli, E., & Oyman, N. (2016). Students’ preferences on the use of mother tongue in English as a foreign language classrooms: Is it the time to re-examine English-only policies? English Language Teaching, 9(1), 148-162.

Fernandez, R. F. (2015). The effects of L1 overuse in L2 learning: Evidence from three case studies. International E-Journal of Advances in Education, 1(3), 183-192.

Gaebler, P. (2014). L1 use in FL classrooms: Graduate students’ and professors’ perceptions of English use in foreign language courses. The CATESOL Journal, 25(1), 66-94.

Karakaş, A. (2016). Turkish lecturers’ views on the place of mother tongue in the teaching of content courses through English medium. Asian Englishes, 18(3), 242–257.

Karimian, Z., & Mohammadi, S. (2015). Teacher’s use of first language in EFL classrooms. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Language Research, 2(3), 61-71.

Kayaoğlu, M. N. (2012). The use of mother tongue in foreign language teaching from teachers’ practice and perspective. Pamukkale Üniversitesi Eğitim Fakültesi Dergisi, 32(2), 25-35.

Kelilo, J. A. (2012). Exploring the use of first language in “English Focus” EFL classrooms: Focus on Jimma Teachers’ College. (Unpublished master’s thesis). Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia.

Khati, R. A. (2011). When and why of mother tongue use in English classrooms. Journal of Nelta, 16(1-2), 42-51.

Lehti-Eklund, H. (2012). Code-switching to first language in repair – A resource for students’ problem solving in a foreign language classroom. International Journal of Bilingualism, 17(2) 132–152.

Littlewood, W., & Yu, B. (2011). First language and target language in the foreign language classroom. Language Teaching, 44(1), 64–77.

Mansor, R. (2017). The use of the mother tongue in the teaching of English as a foreign language in Libyan higher education. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, United Kingdom.

Miles, R. (2004). Evaluating the use of L1 in the English language classroom. (Unpublished master’s thesis). The University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom.

Mitchell, R. (1988). Communicative language teaching in practice. London: Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research.

Mohebbi, H., & Alavi, S. M. (2014). An investigation into teachers’ first language use in a second language learning classroom context: A questionnaire based study. Bellaterra Journal of Teaching and Literature, 7(4), 57-73.

Moore, P. J. (2013). An emergent perspective on the use of the first language in the English-as-a-foreign-language classroom. The Modern Language Journal, 97(1), 239-253.

Paker, T., & Karaağaç, Ö. (2015). The use and functions of mother tongue in EFL classes. Social and Behavioral Sciences, 199, 111-119.

Pan, Y., & Pan, Y. (2010). The use of L1 in the foreign language classroom. Colomb. Appl. Linguist. Journal, 12(2), 87-96.

Sen, Y. (2010). L1 use in English as a foreign language classrooms in Turkey. Abant İzzet Baysal Üniversitesi Dergisi, 10(2), 161-171.

Sharaeai, W. A. (2012). Students’ perspectives on the use of L1 in English classrooms. (Unpublished master’s thesis). Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.

Thompson, G. L., & Harrison, K. (2014). Language use in the foreign language classroom. Foreign Language Annals, 47(2), 321–337.

Timuçin, M., & Baytar, İ. (2015). The functions of the use of L1: Insights from an EFL classroom. Kastamonu Education Journal, 23(1), 241-252.


  • Şu halde refbacks yoktur.

Telif Hakkı (c) 2019 Selçuk Üniversitesi Edebiyat Fakültesi Dergisi (SEFAD) / Selçuk University Journal of Faculty of Letters

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.