This article examines the language choices made by native-speaker teachers of Japanese, Korean, German and French in foreign language (FL) classrooms in New Zealand secondary schools. It explores these teachers' patterns of alternation between English, the majority language, and the TL, using both AS-units (Analysis of Speech units), devised by Foster et al. (2000) and a multiple-category coding system entitled 'Functional Language Alternation Analysis of Teacher Talk' (FLAATT), developed expressly to allow a cross-linguistic comparison of the relationship between teachers' language choices and particular pedagogic functions. Findings suggest that the participating teachers differed markedly from one another not only in the amount of TL used but also in the pedagogic functions they used most frequently and in the language (TL or English) they chose for these functions. There was a tendency by most teachers to avoid complex interactions in the TL, limiting the potential for intake and for real communication on the part of the students. Implications are drawn for research and for teacher education.