The L1 debate in second language learning: Learners’ perspectives
While there has been much survey research into teachers’ and learners’ perceptions regarding the use of the first language in second language learning, less research has investigated the actual use of the L1 in L2 classroom discourse. This research has found that the L1 can play a productive role in L2 learning; however, learners may or may not perceive, or even agree with these benefits, based on their experience of peer interaction. Their perceptions may be influenced by factors such as interpersonal relationships with peers, what they think teachers or researchers expect of them, or other contextual factors which may not be evident from analysis of transcribed discourse of peer interaction. This paper reports on an investigation into learners’ perspectives on the use of L1 (Japanese) and L2 (English), as they perform peer grammar-focused and oral production tasks, in a Japanese university context. Data include ten hours of digital video- and audio-recordings of peer-interaction, performance and stimulated recall interviews collected from English language majors (ten learners in five pairs) in a four-year university in Japan. Findings are expected to provide a rare insight into the relationship between learners’ perceptions of their use of L1 and L2 in task-based interaction, one the one hand, and research-informed discourse analysis of the same interaction, on the other.
Paul Moore is a lecturer in Applied Linguistics at the University of Queensland, Australia. His research interests include second language acquisition, task-based language teaching from social/cognitive and ecological perspectives, and assessment. He teaches research methods in applied linguistics, introduction to applied linguistics, language and technology, and intercultural communication.