The values of learners’ mother tongue use in target language classrooms

Yulong LI, Lixun WANG, Xiaojing LIU

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review


L2 (target language) exclusivity methods such as Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) have been welcomed by more and more EFL/ESL learners. However, there are scholars and practitioners who doubt the benefits of banning L1 (a learner’s mother tongue) from the L2 classroom completely, and it is uncertain whether using ESL/EFL learners’ mother tongue in learning the L2 is distractive. In fact, learners’ use of L1 may facilitate their L2 learning in many cases. In our view, forsaking L1 when learning a target language is not holistic, and the choice of either just L2 or the combination of both L1 and L2 should be based on the needs of the students and the requirements of the relevant courses. This critique will discuss the key aspects of the use of L1 in L2 classrooms. Most importantly, a needs-based mode of L1/L2 use in an L2 classroom will be introduced and discussed. Copyright © 2016 Sciedu Press.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-57
JournalInternational Journal of English Language Teaching
Issue number2
Early online dateJul 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016


Li, Y., Wang, L., & Liu, X. (2016). The values of learners’ mother tongue use in target language classrooms. International Journal of English Language Teaching, 3(2), 46-57.


  • Mother tongue
  • Target language
  • L2 exclusivity
  • Communicative language teaching


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