Examining the Role of First Language in Learning a Second Language: An Overview of Code Switching in the English Language Classroom



code-switching, English language, Ghana, multilingual, second language


The use of language is important when it comes to educational issues because it plays an effective role in the line of communication in the classroom. This essay, however, examined the role of first language in learning second languages especially in a multilingual environment like Ghana which has more than one hundred languages. It further stipulates the concept of code-switching, differences between code-switching and code-mixing, type of code-switching, the use of code-switching in the English and finally, reasons and significance of code-switching. Despite the numerous benefits of using L1 in the English language classroom, various scholars believe that English should only be used in the English language classroom. Some of the reasons include the fact that the classroom is the only source of exposure to English for learners and that the L2 should be used as much as possible by making it the medium as well as the objective of instruction in the process of teaching and learning. In conclusion, there may be a huge gap if the mother tongue is not used to instruct, explain, and socialize among others in the English language classroom. From the discussion, it can be concluded that the use of the English-only in the ESL classroom will not help in learning the English language.


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How to Cite

Bismark Tefeh, J. . (2019). Examining the Role of First Language in Learning a Second Language: An Overview of Code Switching in the English Language Classroom. Nairobi Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 3(4), 145-156. Retrieved from https://www.royalliteglobal.com/njhs/article/view/12