L1 Use and L2 Vocabulary Retention: Help or Hindrance?

Du Yi


Although exclusive use of the second language has long been considered as an important principle of second language teaching and the learners’ first language has been suggested to have very limited role to play, recent studies have shown a different view that the L1 should be used as a tool to facilitate learners’ second language learning. The present study investigated L1 use in the area of English vocabulary teaching by examining nine Chinese EFL learners who were at different proficiency levels. The findings showed that the use of Mandarin Chinese led to better immediate and lasting retention of the vocabulary they have learnt and that it benefited both lower-proficiency and higher-proficiency learners. The study also offers some implications for Chinese EFL teachers and suggests that the implementation of the English-only policy in the EFL classroom should be reexamined.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22158/selt.v9n3p47


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