However, it is just this kind of tendency that could lead to the development of an excessive dependency on the students’ mother tongue (Harbord, 1992) by both teachers and students. Consequently, students lose confidence in their ability to communicate in English: They may feel that the only way they would understand anything the teacher says is when it has been translated, or they use their mother tongue even when they are perfectly capable of expressing the same idea in English.

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This can significantly reduce students’ opportunities to practice English, and students fail to realise that using English in classroom activities is essential to improve their language skills. Translation also regularly creates the problem of oversimplification because many cultural and linguistic nuances cannot be directly translated (Harbord, 1992). For example, the sentence, “That’s so cool! ” in English means that something is amazing or incredible. This phrase is the product of the continual evolution of the English language that was affected by the specific culture at a certain time.

A direct translation of this sentence into Chinese, for example, would not have the same meaning; in fact, it would not make sense at all. While the argument from both sides are equally compelling, it is clear, that despite the numerous advantages of students using their L1 in English-language learning, they do not outweigh the disadvantages. Is it possible to maximize the benefits and minimize the repercussions? Part II will provide suggestions for using the mother tongue judiciously in the English-language classroom.

Disadvantages of using the mother tongue However, it is just this kind of tendency that could lead to the development of an excessive dependency on the students’ mother tongue (Harbord, 1992) by both teachers and students. Consequently, students lose confidence in their ability to communicate in English: They may feel that the only way they would understand anything the teacher says is when it has been translated, or they use their mother tongue even when they are perfectly capable of expressing the same idea in English.

This can significantly reduce students’ opportunities to practice English,

Page 2 Advantages of mother tongue Essay

and students fail to realise that using English in classroom activities is essential to improve their language skills. Translation also regularly creates the problem of oversimplification because many cultural and linguistic nuances cannot be directly translated (Harbord, 1992). For example, the sentence, “That’s so cool! ” in English means that something is amazing or incredible. This phrase is the product of the continual evolution of the English language that was affected by the specific culture at a certain time.

A direct translation of this sentence into Chinese, for example, would not have the same meaning; in fact, it would not make sense at all. While the argument from both sides are equally compelling, it is clear, that despite the numerous advantages of students using their L1 in English-language learning, they do not outweigh the disadvantages. Is it possible to maximize the benefits and minimize the repercussions? Part II will provide suggestions for using the mother tongue judiciously in the English-language classroom.

Disadvantages of using the mother tongue However, it is just this kind of tendency that could lead to the development of an excessive dependency on the students’ mother tongue (Harbord, 1992) by both teachers and students. Consequently, students lose confidence in their ability to communicate in English: They may feel that the only way they would understand anything the teacher says is when it has been translated, or they use their mother tongue even when they are perfectly capable of expressing the same idea in English.

This can significantly reduce students’ opportunities to practice English, and students fail to realise that using English in classroom activities is essential to improve their language skills. Translation also regularly creates the problem of oversimplification because many cultural and linguistic nuances cannot be directly translated (Harbord, 1992). For example, the sentence, “That’s so cool! ” in English means that something is amazing or incredible. This phrase is the product of the continual evolution of the English language that was affected by the specific culture at a certain time.

A direct translation of this sentence into Chinese, for example, would not have the same meaning; in fact, it would not make sense at all. While the argument from both sides are equally compelling, it is clear, that despite the numerous advantages of students using their L1 in English-language learning, they do not outweigh the disadvantages. Is it possible to maximize the benefits and minimize the repercussions? Part II will provide suggestions for using the mother tongue judiciously in the English-language classroom.

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