PLACE OF MOTHER-TONGUE IN TEACHING ENGLISH LANGUAGE
Now the question is arises: What is the place of mother-tongue in teaching English? Unfortunately this question has failed to provoke a unanimous answer. Some educationists are of the opinion that mother-tongue should be strictly avoided while teaching the target language; class-room should be converted into a little ‘language island’ where nothing but the target language (English0 is used for all the purposes. On the contrary, some experts maintain that mother-tongue can be usefully employed for teaching a second language like English.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LEARNING THE MOTHER-TONGUE AND A FOREIGN LANGUAGE:
The learning of the mother-tongue differs from learning the foreign language in number of ways. Some of these points of difference are the following:
1. The learning of the mother tongue is a natural process. The child has the strongest motivation to learn it. It is because he/she wants to express his/her needs and wants. If the child doesn`t learn the mother-tongue, he/she can`t adjust himself/herself in society. On the other hand, learning a foreign language is an artificia’ process. Mostly the child has little motivation to learn it. The will to learn the foreign language is missing.
2. The child learns the mother-tongue in a natural environment. He/she is surrounded by a number of teachers. His/her parents and relatives coax him/her to learn the language. He/she listens to the mother-tongue most of his/her waking hours. The foreign language is taught in an artificial environment. More often than not the child`s only contact with the foreign language is in the classroom. There are a number of holidays in the school and the time devoted to the teaching of the foreign language is limited.
3. The child learns the mother-tongue in situations. The grown-up point to certain things and tell the child their names. The child listens to a lot of sentences in the mother-tongue and he/she him/herself tries to imitate them. Thus he/she grasps the situation or concepts and the language simultaneously.
4. When the child learns the mother-tongue, his/her mind is a clean slate and no other language is getting in the way. But when he/she leans the foreign language, his/her habits of the mother-tongue interfere with the habits of the new language.