Master of Arts (MA)


Foreign Languages and Literatures

Document Type



This study explores the effect of the use of the target language (TL) and the first language (L1) during grammar instruction in the foreign language classroom. There is limited evidence regarding the effect of language of instruction on TL acquisition (Tian & Macaro, 2012; Viakinnou-Brinson, Herron, Cole, & Haight, 2012; Antón & DiCamilla, 1999). However, this area warrants further research. As such, the present study investigates teacher language use (Spanish-only, English-only, or no restriction) during the explicit instruction of Spanish object pronouns (direct, indirect, and both combined) to measure the effect of each language condition on students’ object pronoun performance. In addition, through the use of student questionnaires and class observations, this investigation sheds light on students’ preferences and attitudes about instructor TL and L1 use. The participants came from three separate classes of an intensive beginning Spanish course. Each class was randomly assigned one of three instructional language conditions: one group of students received instruction in English (L1), another in Spanish (L2) and the third group received instruction with no language restriction. All groups completed three separate immediate posttests—one for each of the targeted pronominal forms—followed by a delayed posttest covering all three forms. This data was then analyzed in SPSS using a One-way ANOVA. Three main results emanated from this study: (a) No statistically significant results at immediate testing. (b) No statistically significant results at the delayed posttest. (c) General preference for instruction using both the L1 and L2. However, the descriptive results suggest an advantage for L1 instruction due to the higher percentages at testing time with the groups that received instruction in English. Using both quantitative and qualitative data gathering techniques, this investigation enabled a better understanding of the impact of language of instruction for both immediate gains and retention of the targeted grammar structure, thereby expanding the lack of empirical research on this topic.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Dorado, Dorian