The effects of using L1 translation on young learners' foreign language vocabulary learning

Aïda Codina Camó, Elisabet Pladevall Ballester

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


In the field of foreign language (FL) vocabulary acquisition, there seems to be a growing awareness of the fact that the mother tongue (L1) might have a facilitating role for language learners. Research has found evidence to support the positive effects of using the L1 as an instructional tool, particularly at the initial stages of FL learning. The present study explores the role that the L1 plays in young learners' retention of and access to English vocabulary. An experimental group and the corresponding control group of 10-11 year-old children in an EFL Catalan school context were recruited for the study. The experimental group was exposed to both the English input and the L1 translation of the target items, whereas the control group received just the English input. Differences between the groups in terms of lexical retention and lexical access were analysed. Results of the present study suggest that providing students with the L1 equivalents of the lexical items results in learners retaining more lexical items, accessing them with greater ease and recalling them for longer periods of time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-134
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • English vocabulary learning
  • Foreign language learning
  • L1 use
  • Young learners

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