Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 9. Number 3. September 2018                                   Pp. 294-310

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The use of L1 as a Source of Humour to Facilitate Interaction in EFL Classrooms

 Sabria Salama Jawhar
English language department
King Saudi University for Health Sciences
Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia



The recent decades have witnessed a remarkable increase in the body of research that examine the relationship between humour and language acquisition. This study, however, uses the micro-analytical approach of Conversation Analysis (CA) to investigate the impact of the teachers’ competent use of the first language (L1) as a source of humour on classroom interaction and, consequently, learning. The turn-by-turn analysis of the data shows how the teacher’s use of L1 as a source of humour resulted in smoothness in the interaction and helped in avoiding communication breaking down as a result of the students’ insufficient knowledge of the target language (L2) knowledge. The study found that the careful use of L1 as a source of humour also led to the production of longer and more meaningful turns by students, who are characterised as having limited linguistic resources. This use of L1, however, is context sensitive. Pedagogically, despite the scepticism surrounding the use of L1, the paper concludes by emphasising the usefulness of the competent use of L1 as a source of humour in EFL to increase classroom interaction and recommends increasing the teachers’ awareness regarding the potential of the competent and occasional use of L1.
Keywords: Conversation analysis, EFL, use of humour, Interactional Competence, Use of L1

Cite as:  Jawhar, S.S. (2018).  The use of L1 as a Source of Humour to Facilitate Interaction in EFL Classrooms. Arab World English Journal, 9 (3), 294-310.


Dr. Sabria Jawhar is an assistant professor of applied and educational linguistics. She is a
graduate of Newcastle University, UK. Currently she works as an English language teacher at King
Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences. She is interested in all aspects of classroom
discourse. However, her main focus is on talk-in-interaction.