Advertisement

Role of English-Bangla Code-Switching in Vocabulary Retention: A Case Study at University of Dhaka

  • Neelima AkhterEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Education in the Asia-Pacific Region: Issues, Concerns and Prospects book series (EDAP, volume 44)

Abstract

The use of code-switching in second and foreign language teaching has been a contentious issue. It has been mostly regarded as undesirable based on the assumption that it interferes with target language (TL) learning, especially by decreasing the exposure to the TL. In the last two decades, however, there has been a slow bilingual turn in English language teaching (ELT), calling for a judicious use of the first language in language teaching. This chapter reports a mixed-method study conducted at the University of Dhaka on the effects of teacher code-switching on learners’ short-term vocabulary retention. Participants for the study were selected from 100 1st-year undergraduate students majoring in Psychology and 65 2nd-year undergraduate students majoring in Zoology. Using Vocabulary Knowledge Scale (VKS) developed by Wesche and Paribakht, 20 target words were made into a test paper. This test was administered as pretest and posttest to experimental groups that received explanations of the target words both in English and Bangla and control groups that received them only in English. A writing task and two focus group discussions were also used. Independent samples t-test was run between the scores of the experimental and control groups in order to see if there was any significant difference between the vocabulary retention by the code-switching and the English-only groups. The results show that students who received bilingual definitions outperformed those who received English-only definitions. The statistically significant findings indicate a need for re-evaluating the role of the first language in language pedagogy.

Keywords

Code-switching ELT Vocabulary retention Bilingualism 

References

  1. Akhter, N. (2008). Speaking English in the English Department: An analysis of the textbook, teacher and student perceptions on the approaches to speaking in an English language course at Dhaka University. MA thesis, University of Warwick.Google Scholar
  2. Baleghizadeh, S., & Mirzaei, A. (2011). A comparison of two different types of vocabulary treatment: Inclusion or exclusion of L1? Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 1(7), 765–770.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bhatt, R. M., & Mahboob, A. (2008). Minority languages and their status. In B. B. Kachru, Y. Kachru, & S. N. Sridhar (Eds.), Language in South Asia (pp. 132–152). New Delhi, India: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bhooth, A., Azman, H., & Ismail, K. (2014). The role of the L1 as a scaffolding tool in the EFL reading classroom. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 118, 76–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brooks, N. (1964). Language and language learning. New York: Harcourt Brace.Google Scholar
  6. Butzkamm, W. (2003). We only learn language once. The role of the mother tongue in FL classrooms: Death of a dogma. Language Learning Journal, 28(1), 29–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Carless, D. (2008). Student use of the mother tongue in the task-based classroom. ELT Journal, 62(4), 331–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Celik, M. (2003). Teaching vocabulary through code-mixing. ELT Journal, 57(4), 361–369.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chaudhury, T. A. (2013). English language needs: An in-depth study on Dhaka University students. Dhaka, Bangladesh: Osder Publications.Google Scholar
  10. Chowdhury, N. (2012). Classroom code switching of English language teachers at tertiary level: A Bangladeshi perspective. Stamford Journal of English, 7, 40–61.Google Scholar
  11. Cook, V. (2001). Using the first language in the classroom. Canadian Modern Language Review, 57(3), 402–423.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Copland, F., & Neokleous, G. (2011). L1 to teach L2: Complexities and contradictions. ELT Journal, 65(3), 270–280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cummins, J. (2008). Teaching for transfer: Challenging the two solitudes assumption in bilingual education. In J. Cummins & N. J. Hornberger (Eds.), Encyclopedia of language and education, Bilingual education (Vol. 5, pp. 65–75). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  14. Duff, P., & Polio, C. (1990). How much foreign language is there in the foreign language classroom? The Modern Language Journal, 74(2), 154–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ellis, R. (1984). Classroom second language development. Oxford, UK: Pergamon.Google Scholar
  16. Hamid, M. O. (2006). English teachers’ choice of language for publication: Qualitative insights from Bangladesh. Current Issues in Language Planning, 7(1), 126–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hamid, M. O., Jahan, I., & Islam, M. M. (2014). Medium of instruction policies and language practices, ideologies and institutional divides: Voices of teachers and students in a private university in Bangladesh. In M. O. Hamid, H. T. M. Nguyen, & R. B. Baldauf Jr. (Eds.), Language planning for medium of instruction in Asia (pp. 144–163). Abingdon, UK: Routledge.Google Scholar
  18. Islam, M. J., & Ahsan, S. (2011). Use of Bangla in EFL classes: The reaction of the secondary level students and the teachers in Bangladesh. ASA University Review, 5(2), 197–222.Google Scholar
  19. Knight, T. (1996). Learning vocabulary through shared speaking tasks. The Language Teacher, 20(1), 24–29.Google Scholar
  20. Krashen, S. (1981). Second language acquisition and second language learning. Oxford, UK: Pergamon.Google Scholar
  21. Lin, A. M. Y. (2008). Code-switching in the classroom: Research paradigms and approaches. In K. A. King & N. J. Hornberger (Eds.), Encyclopedia of language and education, vol. 10: Research methods in language and education (pp. 273–286). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  22. Liu, J. (2008). L1 use in L2 vocabulary learning: Facilitator or barrier. International Education Studies, 1(2), 65–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Littlewood, W., & Yu, B. (2011). First language and target language in the foreign language classroom. Language Teaching, 44(1), 64–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Macaro, E. (2005). Codeswitching in the L2 classroom: A communication and learning strategy. In E. Llurda (Ed.), Non-native language teachers: Perceptions, challenges and contributions to the profession (pp. 63–84). Boston: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Macaro, E., & Lee, J. H. (2013). Teacher language background, codeswitching, and English-only instruction: Does age make a difference to learners’ attitudes? TESOL Quarterly, 47(4), 717–742.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Milroy, L., & Muysken, P. (1995). Introduction: Code-switching and bilingualism research. In L. Milroy & P. Muysken (Eds.), One speaker, two languages: Cross-disciplinary perspectives on code-switching (pp. 1–14). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Pinker, S. (1994). The language instinct: How the mind creates language. New York: Harper Collins.Google Scholar
  28. Read, J. (1993). The development of a new measure of L2 vocabulary knowledge. Language Testing, 10(3), 355–371.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Sampson, A. (2012). Learner code-switching versus English only. ELT Journal, 66(3), 293–303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Schmitt, N. (2008). Instructed second language vocabulary learning. Language Teaching Research, 12(3), 329–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Sinha, B. S., Mahboob, T. S., Bashir, A., Basu, B. L., & Akhter, N. (2014). Endeavour: An introductory language Coursebook. Dhaka, Bangladesh: Department of English, University of Dhaka.Google Scholar
  32. Sultana, S. (2014). English as a medium of instruction in Bangladesh’s higher education: Empowering or disadvantaging students? Asian EFL Journal Quarterly, 16(1), 11–52.Google Scholar
  33. Sunderman, G., & Kroll, J. F. (2006). First language activation during second language lexical processing. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 28, 387–422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Turnbell, M., & Arnett, K. (2002). Teachers’ uses of the target and first languages in second and foreign language classrooms. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 22, 204–218.Google Scholar
  35. Wesche, M., & Paribakht, T. S. (1996). Assessing second language vocabulary knowledge: Depth versus breadth. The Canadian Modern Language Review, 53, 13–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Wong-Fillmore, L. (1985). When does teacher talk work as input? In S. M. Gass, M. Carol, & C. M. Madden (Eds.), Input in second language acquisition (pp. 17–50). Rowley, MA: Newbury.Google Scholar
  37. Zarei, A. A., & Arasteh, S. T. (2011). The effects of code-mixing, thematic clustering, and contextualization on L2 vocabulary recognition and production. Journal of Language and Culture, 2(6), 96–102.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EnglishUniversity of DhakaDhakaBangladesh

Personalised recommendations