Throughout much of the history of research into second language acquisition (SLA), the role of learners’ first language (L1) has been a hotly debated issue. Prodromou (2000) refers to the mother tongue as a ‘skeleton in the closet’, while Gabrielatos (2001) calls it a ‘bone of contention’. Such views are but a mere reflection of the different methodological shifts in English Language Teaching, which have brought about new and different outlooks on the role of the mother tongue. The conflict itself is taking place in academic circles rather than in classrooms, where the use of L1 is still considered unacceptable owing to the predominance of the communicative method in language teaching.
Research on the role that mother tongue has for the non-native learners of English has been conducted around the world, however none in North Macedonia. This research aims to explore some of the controversy regarding the use of the student’s first language (L1), as well as to suggest translation activities as a beneficial tool for the students of South East European University in Tetovo, North Macedonia. It also provides insights into native language interference in the process of translating from students’ mother tongue into English, and vs.
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