Journal of Foreign Language Education and Technology

Does Mother Tongue Interfere in Second Language Learning?


Elif Nur Denizer

Mother tongue largely refers to not only the language one learns from one’s
mother but also the speaker’s dominant and home language. It’s also called native
language. This study was conducted to find whether mother tongue interferences in
second-language learning, and if so; whether it affects the learners’ performance in
four language skills, and also in which skill(s) it has the biggest effect. Data collection
tool included a questionnaire by which participants were asked to rate the questions
and tick-circle or write in the correct blank. The questionnaire was based on both
quantitative and qualitative approaches with the help of 4-point Likert-scale
questions and one open-ended question at the last part. The participants of the study
were 20 volunteer students (15 females and 5 males) in Uludag University on whom
the questionnaire was randomly applied. They ranged in age from 18 to 40 and the
mean age was 23. Their mother tongue was Turkish, and they knew English as a
foreign language. The questionnaire shows that mother tongue interferes with
second language learning in some way. In English language, the most challenging
part was Grammar, while the most difficult and influenced skills was Speaking. In
addition, participants had difficulty with speaking without any preparation. When it
comes to having difficulty, participants had difficulty with determiners, English
tenses and articles. The results indicated the interference of mother tongue in almost
all aspects


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