Vocabulary and its learning is paramount at learning a second or foreign language, and that’s obvious, okay. The more lexis the learner has learned the more able he’ll be to have a nice communicative competence in English or whatever the target language is.
Because of that my students and I practice in the classroom how to define words in English, our common target tongue. It is an activity my students love, and it is nice for practicing the communicative competence and skill.
Sometimes my dear students answer to my question for defining a word by using the word in Spanish, our mother language. And I tell them Okay, that’s right, but in English it is… Both I and my students try to create an atmosphere where English is the vehicle for our mutual communication and I don’t like much that a very few of them would say the word to define in Spanish…
I was thinking of that some days ago, and today I’ve read in Lynne Cameron (2004) Teaching Languages to Young Learners that one way to define a word is by using another language… Spanish for instance! You know, I should accept that answer, before they define the word in marvelous English. So it’s one more learning strategy! It’s a communicative strategy! I should accept it, as I said.
Great Rebecca Oxford (1990) also accepts using the mother tongue as a learning and communicating strategy. / Photo from: tumblr