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Summary of Second Language Acquisition
Lerner Errors and Errors Analysis
Introduction
Learners sometimes make errors in both comprehension and production. Second
language learners are not alone in making errors. Children learning their first
language also make errors. Also, even adult native language learners make errors.
But it is probably true to say that these errors are not generally thought of as errors
in the same sense as those produced by second language learners. While second
language learners error are generally viewed as unwanted forms, childrens errors
are seen as transitional forms and adult native speakers errors as slips of
tongue
The study of errors is carried out by means of error analysis (EA). In the 1970s,
EA supplanted Contrastive Analysis (CA), which wanted to predict the errors that
the learners make by identifying the linguistics difference between their first
language and the target language. The underlying assumption of CA was that
errors occurred primarily as a result of interference when the learners transfer
native language habits into the second language. Interference was believed to
take place whenever the habits of native language differed from those of the target
language.
In an early, seminal article, Corder (1967) noted that errors could be significant
in three ways (1) they provide the teacher with the information about how much
the learner had learnt, (2) they provide the researcher with the evidence of how
language was learnt, and (3) they served as devices by which the learner
discovered the rules of the target language. Whereas (1) reflects the traditional
role of EA, (2) provides a new role that is of primary interest to the L2 researcher
because it could shed light on, (3) the process of second language researcher.
In addition, Corder (1974) suggests the following steps in error analysis
research, namely:
1. Collection of Sample of Learner Language
The starting point in EA is deciding what samples of learner language to use
for the analysis and how to collect these samples. Three board of EA according to
the size of the sample can be identified. A massive sample involve collecting
several samples of language use form a large number of learners in order to
compile a comprehensive list of errors, representative of the entire population
while a specific sample consists of one sample of language use collected from a
limited number of learners. Then, an incidental sample involves only one sample
of language use produced by a single learner.
The errors that learners make can be influenced by a variety of factors.
Decisions also need to be made regarding the manner in which the samples are to
be collected. Another issue is whether the samples of learner language are
collected at a single point in time (cross-sectionally) or at successive points over a
period of time (longitudinally).

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For instance, Svartvik notes that most error analysis use regular examination
paper such as composition and translation for material.
2. Identification of Errors
This step requires us as the researcher to compare the sentence that the learners
produce with the correct sentence in the target language. In addition, this step
requires the researcher to distinguish between errors and mistake. Errors is
defined as gaps in learners knowledge since they do not know what is correct.
3. Description of Errors
This step requires the researcher to classify errors into grammatical structure
and to identify general ways in which the learners utterance differ from the
reconstructed target language utterance.
4. Explaining Errors
Errors are, to a large extent, systematic, and to a certain extent, predictable.
Errors are not only systematic but many of them are also universal. Explanation is
concerned with establishing the source of the errors. This stage is the most
important for SLA research as it involves an attempt to establish the process
responsible for second language acquisition.
Not all errors are universal, some errors are common only to learners who
share the same mother tongue or whose mother tongues manifest the same linguist
property. Taylor points out that the error source may be psycholinguistics which
relates to the nature of second language system and the difficulties learners have
in using it in production, sociolinguistics which involves such matters as the
learners ability to adjust their language in the accordance with social context,
epistemic which concerns on the learners lack of world knowledge, or may reside
in the discourse structure which involve problems in the organization of
information into a coherent text.
They are three different sources of causes of competence which are explained
as follow:
1. Interference errors occurs as a result of the sue of element from one
language while speaking another
2. Intralingual errors reflect the general characteristics of rule learning such as
faulty generalization, incomplete application of rules and failure to learn
conditions under which rules apply.
3. Developmental errors occur when the learner attempts to build up
hypothesis about the target language on the basis of limited experience.
However, there are found some distinction finding between interlingual and
developmental errors, then most researchers have operated with a general
distinction between transfer errors and interlingual errors. Transfer errors can be
divided into three categories. They are (1) overextension of analogy which occurs
when the learner misuses an item because it shares feature with an item in the L1,
(2) transfer of structure which arises when the learner utilize some first language

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feature (phonological, lexical, grammatical, or pragmatic) rather than that of the
target language, and (3) Interlingual errors which arise when a particular
distinction does not exist in the L1. It also divides into four categories. They are
(1) overgeneralization errors, (2) ignorance of rule restrictions, (3) incomplete
application of rule, and (4) false concept hypothesized.
In addition, there are three board categories that deal with problem of
identifying errors proposed. They are:
1. Developmental ( those errors that are similar to L1 acquisition)
2. Interference (those errors that reflect the structure of the L1)
3. Unique ( those errors that are neither developmental nor Interference)
5. Error evaluation
When evaluating error, researcher should notice two sub part categories of
errors that arise. They are global errors and local errors. Global errors violate the
overall structure of a sentence while local errors affect only a single constituent in
a sentence. As teacher of language, we need to be able to evaluate their students in
these kinds of errors in good treatment.
The Limitations of Error Analysis
In EA, researcher needs to know what learners do correctly as well as what
they do wrongly. It is also limited in a second way that most of studies are cross
sectional in nature, affording only a very static view of L2 acquisition. Moreover,
it focuses exclusively on what learners do, has no way of investigating avoidance
and is, therefore seriously limited. Avoidance is clearly an important issue for
SLA research.