Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 12 : 12 December 2012
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.
         S. M. Ravichandran, Ph.D.
         G. Baskaran, Ph.D.
         L. Ramamoorthy, Ph.D.
Assistant Managing Editor: Swarna Thirumalai, M.A.


Click Here for Back Issues of Language in India - From 2001




  • E-mail your articles and book-length reports in Microsoft Word to
  • Your articles and book-length reports should be written following the APA, MLA, LSA, or IJDL Stylesheet.
  • The Editorial Board has the right to accept, reject, or suggest modifications to the articles submitted for publication, and to make suitable stylistic adjustments. High quality, academic integrity, ethics and morals are expected from the authors and discussants.

Copyright © 2012
M. S. Thirumalai

Custom Search

Role of Mother Tongue in Teaching English as a Second Language to Tamil Students (Special Reference to Undergraduates of the University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka)

V. Suntharesan, M.Phil.


Using the student’s mother tongue in the ESL classes has been felt to be very productive as it is found to develop language accuracy and fluency. The objective of this paper is to discuss how mother tongue can be effectively used in teaching certain linguistic areas in order to motivate students and promote their language proficiency faster. Translation in ESL classes which enables the process of comparing students’ first language with the second language would undoubtedly enable students to attain the ability of using the language in real life situations for communicative purposes.

The beneficial role of mother tongue in second language learning is studied in this paper with the help of authentic data elicited from an experiment carried out among learners. From the Faculty of Arts, University of Jaffna, 50 undergraduates studying in the 3rd year were selected at random and divided into two groups i.e. the Control Group and the Experimental Group. An identical Pre–Test was conducted among both groups and the results were found to have very little variation. Language skills were imparted with the use of Tamil, the students’ mother tongue to the Experimental Group. Classes for the Control Group were conducted purely in English to teach the language skills. The duration of course lessons for each group was six months. At the end of this course duration, the students were required to sit for Post–Tests. Their performances in the tests showed that the Experimental Group fared much better than the Control Group. The findings stressed the benefit of using mother tongue in the ESL classes.

Key Words: Mother tongue, Monolingualism, Code Switching, Second Language, Language Skills


Communicative Language Teaching which is currently in vogue emphasizes the greater use of English in teaching English as a Second Language. Yet, one should be alerted of the fact that neglecting the students’ mother tongue may lead to adverse effects. It should be borne in mind that greater the use of mother tongue, higher the extent of cognitive thinking, sense of security and confidence among learners. Using the mother tongue as a resource for the promotion of language learning has gained currency recently as translation seems to promote the three qualities considered to be essential for language learning: accuracy, clarity and flexibility (Ross, 2000 as quoted in Kalvaliauskiene, 2009).

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

V. Suntharesan, M.Phil.
Senior Lecturer
English Language Teaching Center
University of Jaffna
Sri Lanka

Custom Search

  • Click Here to Go to Creative Writing Section

  • Send your articles
    as an attachment
    to your e-mail to
  • Please ensure that your name, academic degrees, institutional affiliation and institutional address, and your e-mail address are all given in the first page of your article. Also include a declaration that your article or work submitted for publication in LANGUAGE IN INDIA is an original work by you and that you have duly acknowledged the work or works of others you used in writing your articles, etc. Remember that by maintaining academic integrity we not only do the right thing but also help the growth, development and recognition of Indian/South Asian scholarship.