In the history of second language acquisition, the idea of alienating student’s mother tongue (L1) in classrooms has become a norm to the extent that its use will leave teachers feeling guilty. This is reflected in teaching methods such as the direct method or the total physical response method. Upon reviewing the related literature, it was found that the students’ L1 is helpful to their development and has the possibility of supporting many aspects of language acquisition. The main problem lies in the students’ and teachers’ attitudes towards the use of L1 in classrooms, which is believed not to benefit students. Inspired by these views, this paper aims to investigate the attitudes of Malaysian students studying in Japanese preparatory schools in Malaysia towards L1 use in classrooms. A preliminary research was conducted to identify the areas in which students prefer using L1. This is used to create a fourteen-item questionnaire. The results were fairly similar to previous studies with most students disagreeing with the use of L1 in classrooms. However, when it comes to explaining Japanese grammar, the students expressed their desire for L1 use. Finally, a few suggestions on why such attitudes are so prominent in Malaysian students were presented.
Keywords: Attitudes, Japanese Second Language Learners, L1, Malaysian students