I.

I ntroduction
Have you ever wondered why your students often have trouble understandi ng very simple
readi ng passages? Whi le your goal i s to train them to grasp the overall meani ng of reading
materials, they instead are stuck with such local problems as unknown vocabulary or unfamiliar
sentence structure. To make the situation even worse, they seldom ask questions voluntarily to
help you understand their problems; compared to production errors which can be understood by
reading what they write or listening to what they speak, reading comprehension errors are much
mor e di ffi cul t for t he t eacher t o det ect unl ess t hey ask quest i ons or t he t eacher r eads
misinterpreted passages in their native language.
In order to find a solution to their reading comprehension problems, the author occasionally
assigns her students to submit written questions. To gather correct data, students are encouraged
to explain exactly what prevents them from understanding a particular passage. By reading and
analyzing their problems, the teacher can often find how and why they reach a certain problem.
Many st udents shar e simi l ar probl ems whi ch t he teacher fai l s t o det ect unti l readi ng thei r
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Error Analysis to Understand Your Students Better
Mariko MIYAO
Abstract
Teachers wonder why their students often have trouble understanding the meaning
of simple reading materials in English. Students themselves are not very helpful for the
teacher to understand their probl ems as they do not usual ly voi ce their questi ons in
cl ass. I n thi s case study, the author examines the kind of comprehensi on errors her
junior college level students tend to make, and tries to find any patterns or tendencies in
those errors. Also, some comparisons between reading comprehension errors and
production errors wi ll be made to fi nd if there are any si mil ari ties and di fferences in
those two areas. The purpose of this case study is to help the teacher better understand
the nature and the causes of the errors her students tend to make so that their problems
can be dealt with more effectively in the classroom.
keywords: error analysis, reading comprehension errors, production errors
explanations.
Thi s case study provides I) the method of col l ecti ng data from students to reveal thei r
reading comprehension problems, ?) the analysis to find certain patterns or tendencies in those
comprehensi on errors, and 8) how to correct the errors effecti vely on the basis of the error
analysis. The paper also discusses some similarities and differences between reading and writing
errors by comparing data gathered in actual reading and writing activities.
I.? Rationale
What is the definition of errors? Corder IO7+) categorizes errors of performance as mistakes,
and the systematic errors of the learner or his transitional competence as errorsp.?¯).
Ri chards and Sampson I O 7 +) clai m that “errors shoul d not be vi ewed as probl ems to be
overcome, but rather as normal and inevitable features indicating the strategies that learners use”
p. +). However, language teachers are not always aware of why and how students misinterpret
certain reading passages. Unlike production errors, the teacher is often unable to notice his or her
s t u d e n t s’ errors because students would not ask questions or do not real ize they are misunder-
standing a passage.
The purpose of this error analysis is, therefore, to find “what the learner knows and does not
know” and to “ultimately enable the teacher to supply him, not just with the information that his
hypothesis is wrong, but also, i mportantl y, wi th the right sort of i nformation or data for him to
form a more adequate concept of a rule in the target language” Corder, IO7+, p.I7O).
For the rol e of the l anguage teacher, Corder I O 7 +) suggests that “we cannot real ly teach
language, we can only create conditions in which it will develop spontaneously in the mind in its
own way” p. ?7). And when we understand the way a learner learns, we can “adapt ourselves to
his needs rather than i mpose upon him our preconceptions of how he ought to learn, what he
ought to learn and when he ought to learn it” Corder, IO7+, p. ?7).
As Richards and Sampson IO7+) recommend, we should provide feedback of the knowledge
and understanding acquired from error analyses “to language teaching practi ce and to general
linguistic theory” p. I+).
?. Method of Collecting Data
?.I Errors in Textbook Reading
The subjects were ¯O first-year students majoring in computer science at a junior college. The
data was collected in IOO7 by asking them, as homework assignments in a general English course,
to list difficult sentences while reading a textbook. To acquire detailed information to grasp what
prevented them from understanding a particular passage, the students were asked to I) write a
sentence which they felt was difficult, ?) guess the meaning or translate the sentence as best as
they could, and 8) explain the difficult portion that prevented them from understanding it.
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?.? Errors in Authentic Material Reading
8¯ second-year students in an English word processing course were assigned to read authentic
materi als such as newspaper job ads or Engl ish Web pages of their own choice. Although the
assignments were not pri marily intended to gather the data for the error analysi s, the students
were also asked to wr i te down di fficul t sentences and possi bl e r easons for the diffi cul ty by
fol lowing the same format as in the textbook readi ng. Not al l reports contained questi ons or
comprehensi on errors but some of them offered enough sampl es to analyze thei r probl ems i n
reading authentic materials. Due to the time constraint, only the data collected in IOO7 were used
for this case study although the previous year’s data were also available.
?.8 Production Errors
8¯ second-year students in the English word processing course mentioned above participated
in self-introduction activities offered as a pair work using e-mail. The author was able to read their
exchanges electronically because they sent her a copy each time they exchanged messages with
their peers. Only the data collected from a smaller sized class 8O students) were analyzed for the
current study because of the ti me constraint. I n the future, it would be necessary for her to
analyze a larger sample in order to acquire more precise and concrete results.
8. Error Analysis on Reading Comprehension
Duskova I O 8 8, p. ? ? O) di sti ngui shed fi ve major groups of errors in his study of readi ng
comprehension errors which were made by Czech adult learners of English at advanced level.
At first in thi s case study, the author tri ed to fol low Duskova’s categori zati on to determi ne
which category was most suitable for a particular error. This task of grouping errors, however,
proved to be very difficult and confusing probably due to the unfamiliarity with both grammatical
categori es and error anal ysis itsel f. Especial ly when an error seemed to be a combi nation of
syntactic, semantic and cultural errors, it was just not possi ble for her to classify the particular
error.
The purpose of this case study, however, is to find what problems students tend to have so that
the teacher can help them more effectively in the classroom. Therefore, some adjustments were
made to fit more comfortably for this case study. This categorization will probably need further
modifications when more data and knowledge regarding this issue are gained.
Two separate tables of comprehension error analysis were made, one for textbook reading and
another for the reading of authentic materials to compare if there were any different characteristics
between these two. See Appendix A for the errors made while reading textbooks, and Appendix
B for the errors made while reading authentic materials.)
The following is the categorization of reading comprehension errors for this case study:
Table 1. Syntactic errors in constructions (that are different in English and Japanese)
Under t hi s group, four exampl es i n Appendi x A ar e t hose of error s i n rel ati ve cl auses.
Mariko MIYAOÅFError Analysis to Understand Your Students Better
Å| ?O¯
Students study relative clauses in high school but many of them still have trouble understanding
the difference between relative clauses and wh-questions.
Celce-Murcia and Larsen-Freeman IO88) point out that students who are native speakers of
Japanese, Chinese, and Korean will have to grasp the fundamental ordering difference between
Engl i sh and thei r nat ive l anguages and al so “ Japanese st udent s of ESL/ EFL may requi re
additional practice with Engli sh relative pronouns in order for them to become comfortabl e i n
using relative clauses” p. 8GI).
Another probl em i s that many students find i t di fficul t to tell whi ch portion of a sentence
modifies which other portion +, ¯, and G in Appendix B, Table I) as in the Table ?.
Tabl e 2. Syntactic errors in constructions due to fail ure in di vidi ng a sentence into meaningful
portions and/ or following events in the correct sequence
Students often divi de a sentence in a wrong place. For example i n Appendi x A ? and 8 i n
Tabl e ?), they often become confused when encountering a sentence contai ning a dependent
clause, a ‘that’ clause with a long noun phrase, or a conditional clause.
In Appendi x B, there are several typi cal exampl es of errors that wil l pass unnoti ced unless
students ask questions or until the teacher reads a misinterpreted sentence in the mother tongue.
For example, one student misinterpreted an abbreviation mark as a period at the end of a sentence
by producing a completely different interpretation Appendix B, Table ?, I).
Table 3. Lexical errors occurred mostly with polysemic abstracts
Examples of sentences shown here are not parti cularl y difficul t or uncommon i n Engl ish.
Therefore, the teacher may not even thi nk of a possi bili ty of thei r errors until checki ng their
t ranslat i on. Appendi x B has ni ne exampl es compared to the four exampl es of Appendi x A.
Textbook reading is a graded activity but when reading authentic materials, students encounter
unknown vocabulary without any warning and sometimes without any background information.
When they encounter unknown vocabulary, students often pick the first definition of a word or
phrase they find in the dictionary without reading other definitions and examples. Berman IO8+)
expl ains about thi s typi cal FL strategy as “the tendency to sel ect one functi on for any gi ven
grammatical formative,” and when they see another function in the text, “expectancies are not met
and comprehension is impeded” p. I++). It is also true that many students are not trained “in how
to use the dictionary to best advantage” Summers, IO88, p.I?8).
If your students do not know how to use their dictionaries, just telling them to use dictionaries
more often is not suffici ent. You shoul d set asi de some ti me to teach them how to use their
dictionaries. Nowadays much attention is focused on communication skills and we tend to neglect
basic acti vities such as encouragi ng our students to use dicti onaries more often and effectively.
“Dictionary use is a valid activity for foreign learners of English, both as an aid to comprehension
and production” Summers, IO88, p. III). We must, however, make them aware of the fact that
dictionary definitions often fail to convey the nuances of English because of their brevity, and “the
true number of meanings contai ned i n those defi ni tions will always be much higher” B r y s o n ,
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Table 4. Lexical errors misinterpreting word classes
This type of error occurs because the students have not acquired the working knowledge of
how English sentences are structured. These errors are not strictly of lexical type but often occur
with a lack of syntactic knowledge or when they do not pay attention to the syntax. For instance,
the clause “fact is stranger than fiction” Appendix A, Table +, I.) is in a typical comparative form.
But when consulting the dictionary, they see the entry of a noun, ‘stranger,’ and assume this is the
meaning of the word even though a countabl e noun shoul d have an arti cle before it, or ‘t h a n’
usually follows an adjective in a comparative form.
Table 5. Lexical errors misinterpreting within a word class
Appendix B has two examples of misinterpreting the proper noun as the common noun even
though the noun is spel led with a capi tal l etter. Some students are not aware of the difference
between common nouns and proper nouns even though they must have learned it in high school.
Table 6. Lexical errors involving cultural misunderstanding
Appendix A has one example. By seeing the two phrases, ‘the freezing point ’ and ‘8? degrees,’
a student assumed that it was about 8 ? degrees bel ow the freezing poi nt in Celsi us because in
Japan the temperature is measured in Celsius and never in Fahrenheit. The data collected for this
case study is just too small. It would be interesting if there were more examples in this category.
Table 7. Lexical errors caused by formal similarity of words
There are two examples only in Appendix B even though Duskova’s study has 8+ examples.
The reading materials read by the subjects of this case study are not as difficult and advanced as
the ones Duskova’s subj ects r ead. I f the students conti nue to read more advanced readi ng
materials, this type of error may increase.
Table 8. Common/ colloquial expressions in English which are unknown for the learners
There is no exampl e in Appendix A. On the other hand, Appendi x B has seven exampl es.
When reading authentic materi als, students cannot choose what they are faced wi th D u s k o v a ,
I O 8 8, p. ? 8 I). Rather si mple coll oqui al expressions are often very di ffi cult for learners of EFL
because they are not exposed to such idiomatic expressions unlike learners of ESL.
Table 9. Errors in the text
Only Appendix B has some examples. This grouping was made just to find out what students
may face when they read real-l ife authentic materials such as Web pages. The size of the data
collected was too small to show any significant trends.
Mariko MIYAOÅFError Analysis to Understand Your Students Better
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+. Comparison between reading and writing errors
Typical production errors are of production or distribution of verb groups Table I in Appendix
C). This type of error is very puzzling because students learn, from the day one at school, the
correct forms of verb phrases. In his article, Richards IO7+) offers some insights to the puzzled
teachers by expressing his doubt about a teaching method, ‘contrastive-based teaching,’ which, he
clai ms, gi ves “excessive attention to points of difference at the expense of reali stic English” p .
I7O).
Richards IO7+) explains that a frequent way of introducing the simple and continuous forms
to establish the contrast is false to English p. I7O). He continues to explain that when the past is
introduced, students may draw an analogy that was and was +ing are past markers and produce
such sentences as ‘he was climbed the tree ,’ or ‘I was going downtown yesterday ’ p. I8O).
As you can see from this error example, students often acquire a wrong analogy. And some of
their anal ogies may be due to our teachi ng. We shoul d certainl y be aware of this potenti al
problem when teaching our students certain grammatical functions by contrast. Richards IO7+)
al so insi sts that “a safer strategy for instructi on is to minimi ze opportuniti es for confusion by
selecting non-synonymous contexts for related words, by treating them at different times, and by
avoi di ng exercises based on contrast and transformati on” p. I 8 I). Thi s precauti on can be
applicable to teaching reading as well as writing because students may acquire a wrong analogy
while learning to read although we do not realize about it until we see their production errors.
Many other examples of typi cal producti on errors have a di rect i nfluence from the mother
tongue of Japanese. For i nstance, in Japanese we tend to omi t possessi ve adjectives, or do not
distinguish between singular and plural forms as in English. We omit articles whenever possible.
You will also notice that some errors occur because the learners have not learned the word order
and sentence structure of English language properly.
Production errors and comprehension errors are often different because “recognition of a form
is much easier than its production” Duskova, IO88, p. ?8O). However, both types of errors occur
mostly because learners are not familiar with the structure of the target language, and quite often
the mother tongue i nfl uences comprehension and producti on abil i ti es of l earners. But if the
teacher is aware of the typical errors his students tend to make and what causes those errors to
happen, he can prepare himself better in teaching and helping students solve their problems.
¯. Conclusion
To cl ose this case study, this wri ter woul d li ke to quote a passage from a book, “M o t h e r
Tongue,” in which Bryson IOOO) mentions that “on the strength of dictionary definitions alone a
foreign visitor to your home could be excused for telling you that you have an abnormal child, that
your wife’s cooking is exceedingly odorous, and that your speech at a recent sales conference was
laughable, and intend nothing but the warmest praise” p. I¯O). From this passage, we realize that
it is actually very difficult for EFL learners to choose right words at all occasions.
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Bryson persuades us that actual meanings of words, phrases, or sentences cannot be derived
directly from dictionary definitions alone. Then, how can learners of EFL tell the difference in the
nuances of the key words in the above quotation? Often the dictionary is the only source for them
except their teachers. We must therefore understand that without a teacher, the dictionary would
be the only means for them to rely on, as they do not have the same background knowledge as
native speakers do. We tend to forget this fact and assume our students are just lazy when they
fail to understand some English passages or make seemingly very simple mistakes in producing
English. If we are more aware of what our students must go through when learning English, then
we can be more efficient and helpful when teaching them in the classroom.
References
Berman, R. A. IO8+). Syntactic components of the foreign language reading process. In J. C.
Alderson & A. H. Urquhart Eds.), Reading in a Foreign Languagepp. I8O·I¯O). New
York: Longman.
Bryson, B. IOOO). Mother Tongue: English & How It Got That Way . New York: Avon Books.
Celce-Murcia, M. & Larsen-Freeman, D. IO88). The Grammar Book: An ESL/ EFL Teacher’s
Course. Rowley, Mass.: Newbury House Publishers, Inc.
Corder, S. P. IO7+). The Significance of Learners’ Errors. In Jack C. Richards Ed.), Error
Analysis: Perspectives on Second Language Acquisition pp. IO·?7). London: Longman.
Corder, S. P. IO7+). Idiosyncratic Dialects and Error Analysis. In Jack C. Richards Ed.), Error
Analysis: Perspectives on Second Language Acquisition pp. I¯8·I7I). London: Longman.
Duskova, Libuse. IO88). On Sources of Errors in Foreign Language Learning. In B. W. Robinett
& J. Schachter Eds.), Second Language Learning: Contrastive Analysis, Error Analysis,
and Related Aspectspp. ?I¯·?8O). Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.
Richards, J. C. IO7+). A Non-Contrastive Approach to Error Analysis. In J. C. Richards Ed.),
Error Analysis: Perspectives on Second Language Acquisition pp. I7?·I88). London:
Longman.
Richards, J. C., & Sampson, G. P. IO7+). The Study of Learner English. In J. C. Richards Ed.),
Error Analysis: Perspectives on Second Language Acquisition pp. 8·I8). London:
Longman.
Summers, D. IO88). The role of dictionaries in language learning. In R. Carter & M. McCarthy
Eds.), Vocabulary and Language Teachingpp. III·I?¯). New York: Longman.
Mariko MIYAOÅFError Analysis to Understand Your Students Better
Å| ?OO
IOOO
?IO
I. “Just drop by, and you can hear Chinese dialects, inspect chinaware, . . . .” Misinterpret-
ing the i mperati ve mood for i nvit ation/ suggesti on) as a decl arati ve cl ause, f u r a r i t o
tachiyoru, soshite)
?. “He will fight men who are twice his size . . . with women who will not pay any attention to
him.” Translation in the future tense does not sound natural in Japanese.)
8. “Only when he completes his walkabout is he accepted as an adult member of his tribe.”
I) Misinterpreting the word ‘only.’ ?) Dividing the sentence in a wrong place after
‘wal kabout i s’) 8) Fai l i ng t o under st and t he r ul e of a condi t i onal sent ence and
subject/ verb inversion in the main clause.)
+. Relative clauses:
+.I “They have a custom called a ‘walkabout,’ which is a survival test given to a young boy of
thirteen or fourteen.” Transl ating by I) di vi ding the sentence i nto two compl ete
sentences or ?) using ‘and’-conjunction plus ‘it’ in stead of ‘which’.)
+.? “. . . because this is the time when he must show how truly strong he is.” Translating as
I) “I used to do . . . in the past.” or ?) “This is the reason why) he must show how
truly strong he is.”)
+.8 “That is why people wonder if the world will be able to produce enough food for everyone
on this earth.” Unable to understand the relation between ‘why’ and ‘wonder if.’)
+.+ “He must find a water hole where he can get water to drink.” Translating as “He must
find a water hole so that he can get water to drink, mizu wo nomu tameni .)
¯. “The mouse, hearing the roar, rushed to the lion to help him.” Unsure about the function
of the -ing adverbial clause
TABLE 1. Syntactic errors in constructions (that are different in English and Japanese)
APPENDIX A
Errors in Reading Comprehension Textbook)
I. “A church worker had li ghted a hangi ng oi l l amp and l eft before the student came i n.”
Translating by I) omi tting ‘left before’ and inserti ng ‘t h e n’ or ?) omitti ng ‘and left.’
Misinterpreting ‘left’ as the noun.)
?. “The news didn’t say what had brought hi m there or where his parents were when this
st range inci dent happened.” Fai l i ng t o under st and that the underl i ned cl ause i s a
dependent clause linking to ‘where his parents were.’)
8. “He must learn how to make a fire, how to cook, and how to find the next water hole where
he can get some water to drink and rest.” Failing to understand the clause is a dependent
clause and dividing the sentence into two sentences to translate.)
+. “Anyway, Mikey decided, at 8:8O in the morning, that the bed he had been sleeping in was
not as comfortable as the one he had at his home.” Unable to translate the clause after
‘that’ and feeling that the sentence is too long and complicated.)
¯. “This is why the bridge there is called . . . “ Misunderstanding that ‘there’ and ‘is’ are one
unit.)
G. “Only when he completes his walkabout is he accepted as an adult member of his tribe.”
Divi ding the sentence after ‘wal kabout is’ and misunderstanding the latter part as “h e
accepted whom?) as an adult member of his tribe.”)
TABLE 2. Syntactic errors in constructions due to failure in dividing a sentence into
meaningful portions and/or following events in the correct sequence
Mariko MIYAOÅFError Analysis to Understand Your Students Better
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I. “If you know that the freezing point is 8? degrees F, you can imagine how cold it was, can’t
you?” Misinterpreting the portion as “8? degrees below the freezing point in Celsius).
TABLE 3. Lexical errors occurred mostly with polysemic abstracts
I. “Fresh seafood is available not only in fancy restaurants but also on busy streets.” Misun-
derstanding ‘available’ as yakudatsu useful, helpful) instead of tenihairu accessible).)
?. “You have pr obabl y seen at l east one or t wo of Char l i e Chapl i n’s fi l ms, I am sur e.”
Misunderstanding ‘I am sure’ at the end of a sentence as hontouni definitely, really).)
8. “He put on not only his clothes but also gloves and overcoat.” Misunderstanding the verb
phrase as oita placed something on somewhere).
+. “The city has many steep hills and they make its cable cars a practical means of transporta-
tion as well as a unique attraction for tourists.” Misinterpreting ‘unique’ as ‘only.’)
TABLE 4. Lexical errors misinterpreting word classes
I. “Fact is stranger than fiction, says a proverb.” Misinterpreting ‘stranger’ as the noun.)
?. “ He used t he r egul ar beat of hi s pul se t o t i me t he movement of t he wei ght s.”
Misinterpreting ‘time’ as the noun.)
8. “ A chur ch wor ker had l i ght ed a hangi ng oi l and l e f t befor e t he st udent came i n.”
Misinterpreting ‘left’ as the noun the left side).)
+. “Thi s i s w h y the bridge there i s called . . .” Mi sinterpreting ‘w h y’ as the wh-questi on
word.)
¯. “This was what had happened to little Mikey whose age was only four.” Misinterpreting
‘what’ as the wh-question word. Translation: “This was about: What had happened to little
Mikey whose age was only four?”)
TABLE 5. Lexical errors misinterpreting within a word class (No example)
TABLE 6. Lexical errors involving cultural misunderstanding
IOOO
?I?
APPENDIX B
Errors in Reading Comprehension Authentic Materials)
TABLE 1. Syntactic errors in constructions (that are different in English and Japanese)
I. “Let’s find out what all the excitement is about!” Failing to understand that ‘about’ links to
‘what.’)
?. “Agent needed for an American gl ass arti st who i s a nati onal li ving treasure to develop.”
Translating “Agent is) needed” as “Agent needs an American . . .”)
8. “A per sonali zed birt h announcement i s i ncl uded in the see-thr ough del i very pouch.”
Unable to understand which is the subject or the predicate. Translation: “By looking at
the birthday through the delivery pouch, someone) reports including the fact of ) having
seen through.”)
+. “Because of his si ze and the company he keeps, Woodstock is an acci dent wai ti ng to
h a p p e n.” Transl ation: “Whil e Woodstock is waiti ng for something to happen, there i s
some coincidence.”)
¯. “. . . you are guaranteed an unforgettable experi ence full of unexpected happenings.”
Failing to understand that the portion modifies the preceding noun phrase. Translation:
“From happenings, you are guaranteed to have) an unforgettable experience.”)
G. “Vi sitors to . . ., can experience . . . the magic of Di sney i n the nostal gi a, fantasy and
adventure that awai ts i n thi s Kingdom of Dreams and Magic.” Fai li ng to understand
where the ‘that’-clause links to.)
TABLE 2. Syntactic errors in constructions due to failure in dividing a sentence into
meaningful portions and/or following events in the correct sequence
I. “ Over I ¯ yr s. exper i ence i n al l r ound account i ng pr act i ces.” Mi si nter pr eti ng t he
abbreviation mark after “yrs’ as the period and the portion as the age of a person.)
?. “Rel i abl e nat ive Engl i sh, Fr ench and Ger man t eacher s wanted for pri vate l essons.Åh
Mi si nt erpreti ng that “ n a t i v e’ modi fi es onl y ‘E n g l i s h ,’ and ‘Fr ench and German’ a r e
nationalities not languages.)
8. “The Walt Disney Classics Collection captures all of the magic and emotion of your favorite
Disney moments and brings them to l ife in an exclusi ve coll ecti on of fine animation art
sculptures.” Unable to translate the underlined portion thinking it is too complicated and
long.)
+. “The large cake comes professionally sliced in IG equal portions separated by pastry papers
. . . .” Unable to find where to start translating by complaining that there are too many
verbs.)
¯. “ . . ., readi ng wi th Pooh can mean hours of fun each and every day.” M i s i n t e r p r e t i n g
‘e a c h’ as ‘each person. Translati on: “ . . . every day and each person can have fun and
meaningful hours.”)
G. “Because of hi s si ze and the company he keeps, Woodstock is an acci dent waiti ng to
happen.” Misinterpreting the portion as “his large size which he protects and the friend
whom he protects”
Mariko MIYAOÅFError Analysis to Understand Your Students Better
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TABLE 3. Lexical errors occurred mostly with polysemic abstracts
I. “ N a t i v e Engl i sh Speak er s ar e ur gent l y needed t o t each Engl i sh conver sat i on.”
Misinterpreting the word ‘native’ as sobokunasimple, free from affectation).)
?. “University degree essential.” Misinterpreting the word ‘degree’ as teido extent, relative
intensity).)
8. “If these are the kinds of things that are rolling through your mind, here is the latest . . . .”
Misunderstanding the verb ‘r o l l’ to mean that something actual ly rol ls. Fai li ng to read
other definitions.)
+. “Hello Kitty would love you to stay for tea!” Translation: “Hello Kitty would love someone
who offers or participate in) tea or a tea party). ochasuru = offer or participate in a tea
party))
¯. “ A seacoast Vi ct or i an-st yl e house wi th a t ouch of b e a c h c o m b e r ecl ect i ci sm . . . .”
Misunderstanding ‘beachcomber’ as oonami a big wave).)
G. “Just do it.” Misinterpreting the word as choudoexactly).)
7. “ ‘Get a life. Get a girlfriend. Get some hair.’ That’s Nate’s touching, sensitive advice . . . .”
Misinterpreting ‘touching’ as awarena pitiful, pathetic) and ‘sensitive’ as shinkeishitsuna
oversensitive, easily offended).)
8. “There are also some co-sysops of this board, . . . .” Misinterpreting ‘board’ as ita flat
wood))
O. “Because of his s i z e and the company he k e e p s, Woodstock is an acci dent waiti ng to
h a p p e n .” Transl ated word o o k i s a i mpl i es ‘a l ar ge si ze’. ‘K e e p s’ was tr ansl ated as
mamotteiru protects).
TABLE 4. Lexical errors misinterpreting word classes
I. “Agent needed for an American gl ass artist who is a national l ivi ng treasure to devel op.”
Misinterpreting ‘living’ as the noun, and ‘treasure’ as the verb; “who treasures the national
living.”)
?. “ . . . Goofy’s house is right at home next to Toon Lake.” Misinterpreting ‘right’ as the
noun migi meaning ‘a direction on the right side’; “Goofy’s house is on the right of and
next to Toon Lake”
8. “As kids read along with Pongo, Perdy, . . ., they get to move the story along by . . ., six
sing-alongs and hundreds of surprise animations.” Misinterpreting ‘as’ as kodomo-tachi )
no youni just like kids). Misinterpreting ‘surprise animations’ as the noun and adjective
dougano odorokianimation’s surprise).
TABLE 5. Lexical errors misinterpreting within a word class
I. “ . . . , Donal d’s foot pri nt s can be found at M a n n’s Chi nese Theater i n Hol lywood.”
Misinterpreting the proper noun phrase as the common noun phrase “a Chinese theater”
omitting “Mann’s.”
?. “There are also some co-sysops on this board, one being me mornar) and the other being
Plague.” Misinterpreting the proper noun as the common noun densenbyoua contagious
disease).)
IOOO
?I+
I. “That is why in IO87 she decided to create a ligne of cosmetics and launched a perfume, ‘le
b.’.” Typographical error for ‘line.’ Unable to translate)
?. “Her trademark is the red bow she always wears on her left car.” The noun ‘ear’ came out
as ‘car’ because the home page was very lightly printed.)
8. “Vanessa Paradis images on this site were scanned by Maria Margari da Salvado Special
thanks to Miguel Gomes and Boys keep swinging.” A period after ‘Salvado’ is missing.)
+. “The char act eri sti c ai r grates and control s wi th m a s s i v, chr omed m e s s i n g, t he wel l
smel li ng Connoll y-l eather and shini ng ti mber-work are proverbi al.” ‘e’ after ‘m a s s i v’ i s
missing. Also, no entry of a word ‘messing’ in dictionaries. Maybe a term for an auto
part)
TABLE 6 Lexical errors involving cultural misunderstanding (No example)
TABLE 7. Lexical errors caused by formal similarity of words
I. “University degree essential.” Mistaking the word ‘university’ for ‘universality.’)
?. “There are also some co-sysops on this board, . . . .” Translating ‘there are’ as ‘they are’
sorera).)
TABLE 8. Common/colloquial expressions in English which are unknown for the learners
I. “Thanks for stopping by ! ”
?. “Just do it ! ”
8. “ . . ., she has a schoolgirl crush on Linus, her ‘Sweet Babboo’.”
+. “The Sysop of this BBS is Ronald, . . .” Systems operator?)
¯. “The most memorable, most magical Walt Disney World celebration ever is under way ! ”
G. “It’s been magically transformed into a IG-story birthday cake ! ”
7. “. . . the streets come alive every night . . .”
8. “Read along, sing along, and play interactive learning games ! ”
7. “Get a life. Get a girlfriend. Get some hair.” Unable to translate even though the student
understood the following two sentences.)
TABLE 9. Errors in the text
Mariko MIYAOÅFError Analysis to Understand Your Students Better
Å| ?I¯
APPENDIX C
Errors on Production Level
TABLE 1. Errors in the production or distribution of verb groups
I. be +verb stemfor be +verb +ingprogressive):
I’m very tired. So I’m go home early. It is rain today.
?. have+not) +verb stem for have +not) +verb +edpresent perfect):
Have you get a job? I havn’t haven’t) never tell to company.
8. modal +wrong form of verb for modal +verb stem:
So I can’t playing!!
+. to Infinitive marker) omitted before verb stemto-infinitive):
I like eat, too.
¯. Errors in negation:
I think not enjoy. I don’t think I enjoy it.) Because I dont like high school class.
I havn’t haven’t) never tell to company. But I have not gotten a job, too.
G. do +not +verb for have +not +verb +edpresent perfect in negative mode):
And I don’t still dicide decide) to work too. I don’t decide that what do I want.
7. Omission of beverb before adjective:
I absent from a part time job today.
8. Errors in tenses:
I try to tell to company today. I start it when I was G years old. started)
I am living alone in Tsukuba. live) I’m ?O years old soon. I will be)
I’m playing it since I was high school student. I have been playing)
O. Unnecessary insertion of another verb:
I like is water melon.
TABLE 2. Miscellaneous errors
I. Omission of possessive adjectives e.g. my, her, your):
Because I dont like high school class. What did you do with boyfriend?
Sorry to short message!
?. Errors in using possessives:
Their’s song is very cute and pop. Have a nice your summer vacation.
I’m sorry I’m late your answering letter. for) answering to) your letter)
8. therefor it:
I like Tokyo Disneyland. Do you like there?
+. noun phrase for adverb:
I work a part time job in “COCO’S”. I work part-time . . .)
My summer vacation plan is working part-time job and going to the sea.
¯. noun phrase for adjective:
Member is my part me job friends, about ?O peoples. friends on the part-time job?)
Very very happiness. happy)
G. adjective for noun:
But I hate sultry. sultry/ hot weather)
IOOO
?IG
Table 3. Errors due to failure to observe singular/plural rules
My hobby is window-shopping and drive. My hobby is shopping and to go to the movie.
My hobby is listening to music and shopping. My hobby is cooking cake and doria.
My hobbies is listening to music and playing the clarinet. And what are your hobby?
Member is my part time job friends, about ?O peoples. I like sport.
All character is very pretty. About Disney characters) I have many CD.
TABLE 4. Errors in the use of prepositions
I.I to instead of for: This is very fun to me.
I.? to instead of none): I havn’t never tell to company.
I try to tell to company today.
I go to there on Thuseday Tuesday).
I.8 to instead of about: Sorry to short message.
?.I for instead of forward to. : I’m looking for your e-mail.
?.? for instead of none) or to: I answer for your question.
8.I none) instead of on : Do you go a trip? Do you go on a trip?)
8.? none) instead of during : I will work summer vacation.
8.8 none) instead of for : I’m waiting your replying. for your reply)
TABLE 5. Errors in the use of articles
I. Omission of definite article the) :
I havn’t haven’t) never tell to company. I try to tell to company today.
?. Omission of indefinite article a or an) :
It is rainy day today. I’m playing it since I was high school student.
TABLE 6. Errors in the use of questions
I. Omission of wh-question word:
Do you think the jounire colegejunior college)? What do you think about the junior college?)
?. Omission of inversion:
What your hobby is?
8. Inversion in indirect question:
I don’t decide that what do I want. what I want to do))
+. Wrong form of auxiliary, or wrong form after auxiliary: Do you studying hard for the test?
What time do you working? What time do you start working, how long, which day, etc.)
¯. Errors in word order within a question:
What do you like fruits? What do you like music?
TABLE 7. Lexical errors (Confusion of related words with similar meaning)
My hobby is cooking cake and doria. cookinginstead of baking)
. . . going to the sea. the sea instead of the beach)
TABLE 8. Errors in expressing idioms
I’m looking forward to hear from soon. forward to hearing from you soon)
I am looking forward to hear from for your letter.

what he ought to learn and when he ought to learn it” (Corder. 1974. (2) the analysis to find certain patterns or tendencies in those comprehension errors. Richards and Sampson (1974) claim that “errors should not be viewed as problems to be overcome. we can only create conditions in which it will develop spontaneously in the mind in its own way” (p. 14). we can “adapt ourselves to his needs rather than impose upon him our preconceptions of how he ought to learn. not just with the information that his hypothesis is wrong. language teachers are not always aware of why and how students misinterpret certain reading passages. the students were asked to (1) write a sentence which they felt was difficult.25). Method of Collecting Data 2. Corder (1974) suggests that “we cannot really teach language. − 204 − . 27). and (3) how to correct the errors effectively on the basis of the error analysis. to list difficult sentences while reading a textbook. The purpose of this error analysis is. The data was collected in 1997 by asking them. 27). the teacher is often unable to notice his or her students’ errors because students would not ask questions or do not realize they are misunderstanding a passage. 4). and the systematic errors of the learner or his transitional competence as errors(p. And when we understand the way a learner learns. This case study provides (1) the method of collecting data from students to reveal their reading comprehension problems. p. to find “what the learner knows and does not know” and to “ultimately enable the teacher to supply him. but rather as normal and inevitable features indicating the strategies that learners use” (p. However.1 Errors in Textbook Reading The subjects were 59 first-year students majoring in computer science at a junior college. as homework assignments in a general English course. The paper also discusses some similarities and differences between reading and writing errors by comparing data gathered in actual reading and writing activities. importantly. 2. and (3) explain the difficult portion that prevented them from understanding it. (2) guess the meaning or translate the sentence as best as they could. 1974. 1. For the role of the language teacher. p.2 Rationale What is the definition of errors Corder (1974) categorizes errors of performance as mistakes ? .東京家政筑波女子大紀要3 1999 explanations.170). we should provide feedback of the knowledge and understanding acquired from error analyses “to language teaching practice and to general linguistic theory” (p. with the right sort of information or data for him to form a more adequate concept of a rule in the target language” (Corder. As Richards and Sampson (1974) recommend. but also. Unlike production errors. therefore. To acquire detailed information to grasp what prevented them from understanding a particular passage.

3. − 205 − . Not all reports contained questions or comprehension errors but some of them offered enough samples to analyze their problems in reading authentic materials. The author was able to read their exchanges electronically because they sent her a copy each time they exchanged messages with their peers. 2. At first in this case study.3 Production Errors 85 second-year students in the English word processing course mentioned above participated in self-introduction activities offered as a pair work using e-mail. semantic and cultural errors. p. Two separate tables of comprehension error analysis were made. the author tried to follow Duskova’s categorization to determine which category was most suitable for a particular error. however. it would be necessary for her to analyze a larger sample in order to acquire more precise and concrete results. and Appendix B for the errors made while reading authentic materials.2 Errors in Authentic Material Reading 85 second-year students in an English word processing course were assigned to read authentic materials such as newspaper job ads or English Web pages of their own choice. Only the data collected from a smaller sized class (30 students) were analyzed for the current study because of the time constraint. is to find what problems students tend to have so that the teacher can help them more effectively in the classroom. This categorization will probably need further modifications when more data and knowledge regarding this issue are gained. only the data collected in 1997 were used for this case study although the previous year’s data were also available.) The following is the categorization of reading comprehension errors for this case study: Table 1. Especially when an error seemed to be a combination of syntactic. one for textbook reading and another for the reading of authentic materials to compare if there were any different characteristics between these two. it was just not possible for her to classify the particular error. 229) distinguished five major groups of errors in his study of reading comprehension errors which were made by Czech adult learners of English at advanced level. (See Appendix A for the errors made while reading textbooks. proved to be very difficult and confusing probably due to the unfamiliarity with both grammatical categories and error analysis itself. Syntactic errors in constructions (that are different in English and Japanese) Under this group. some adjustments were made to fit more comfortably for this case study. Due to the time constraint. This task of grouping errors. Error Analysis on Reading Comprehension Duskova (1983. Although the assignments were not primarily intended to gather the data for the error analysis. In the future. Therefore. four examples in Appendix A are those of errors in relative clauses. The purpose of this case study. the students were also asked to write down difficult sentences and possible reasons for the difficulty by following the same format as in the textbook reading.Mariko MIYAO : Error Analysis to Understand Your Students Better 2. however.

We must.” and when they see another function in the text. It is also true that many students are not trained “in how to use the dictionary to best advantage” (Summers. Appendix B has nine examples compared to the four examples of Appendix A. however. Celce-Murcia and Larsen-Freeman (1983) point out that students who are native speakers of Japanese. Another problem is that many students find it difficult to tell which portion of a sentence modifies which other portion (4. Lexical errors occurred mostly with polysemic abstracts Examples of sentences shown here are not particularly difficult or uncommon in English. In Appendix B. 5. Table 2. a ‘that’ clause with a long noun phrase. p. Berman (1984) explains about this typical FL strategy as “the tendency to select one function for any given grammatical formative. students often pick the first definition of a word or phrase they find in the dictionary without reading other definitions and examples. Textbook reading is a graded activity but when reading authentic materials. 1988. “expectancies are not met and comprehension is impeded” (p. Table 2.123). or a conditional clause. and 6 in Appendix B. 144).東京家政筑波女子大紀要3 1999 Students study relative clauses in high school but many of them still have trouble understanding the difference between relative clauses and wh-questions. − 206 − . For example in Appendix A (2 and 3 in Table 2). just telling them to use dictionaries more often is not sufficient. p. 1988. one student misinterpreted an abbreviation mark as a period at the end of a sentence by producing a completely different interpretation (Appendix B. there are several typical examples of errors that will pass unnoticed unless students ask questions or until the teacher reads a misinterpreted sentence in the mother tongue. they often become confused when encountering a sentence containing a dependent clause. 361). Table 3. both as an aid to comprehension and production” (Summers. For example. Nowadays much attention is focused on communication skills and we tend to neglect basic activities such as encouraging our students to use dictionaries more often and effectively. and “the true number of meanings contained in those definitions will always be much higher” (Bryson. Syntactic errors in constructions due to failure in dividing a sentence into meaningful portions and/or following events in the correct sequence Students often divide a sentence in a wrong place. “Dictionary use is a valid activity for foreign learners of English. 111). and Korean will have to grasp the fundamental ordering difference between English and their native languages and also “Japanese students of ESL/EFL may require additional practice with English relative pronouns in order for them to become comfortable in using relative clauses” (p. If your students do not know how to use their dictionaries. You should set aside some time to teach them how to use their dictionaries. Chinese. Table 1) as in the Table 2. students encounter unknown vocabulary without any warning and sometimes without any background information. Therefore. 1). the teacher may not even think of a possibility of their errors until checking their translation. When they encounter unknown vocabulary. make them aware of the fact that dictionary definitions often fail to convey the nuances of English because of their brevity.

’ a student assumed that it was about 32 degrees below the freezing point in Celsius because in Japan the temperature is measured in Celsius and never in Fahrenheit. Lexical errors involving cultural misunderstanding Appendix A has one example. Some students are not aware of the difference between common nouns and proper nouns even though they must have learned it in high school. Lexical errors misinterpreting word classes This type of error occurs because the students have not acquired the working knowledge of how English sentences are structured. Lexical errors caused by formal similarity of words There are two examples only in Appendix B even though Duskova’s study has 34 examples. Table 5. Table 6. Errors in the text Only Appendix B has some examples. Table 7. 231). this type of error may increase. they see the entry of a noun. The reading materials read by the subjects of this case study are not as difficult and advanced as the ones Duskova’s subjects read.’ and assume this is the meaning of the word even though a countable noun should have an article before it.151). This grouping was made just to find out what students may face when they read real-life authentic materials such as Web pages. If the students continue to read more advanced reading materials. 1. But when consulting the dictionary. − 207 − . 1983. Common/colloquial expressions in English which are unknown for the learners There is no example in Appendix A. Rather simple colloquial expressions are often very difficult for learners of EFL because they are not exposed to such idiomatic expressions unlike learners of ESL. Lexical errors misinterpreting within a word class Appendix B has two examples of misinterpreting the proper noun as the common noun even though the noun is spelled with a capital letter. Table 4. Table 4. ‘stranger. These errors are not strictly of lexical type but often occur with a lack of syntactic knowledge or when they do not pay attention to the syntax.Mariko MIYAO : Error Analysis to Understand Your Students Better 1990. For instance. p. Appendix B has seven examples. or ‘than’ usually follows an adjective in a comparative form. When reading authentic materials. the clause “fact is stranger than fiction” (Appendix A. The data collected for this case study is just too small. students cannot choose what they are faced with (Duskova. Table 9. The size of the data collected was too small to show any significant trends. It would be interesting if there were more examples in this category. Table 8. ‘the freezing point’ and ‘32 degrees. On the other hand.) is in a typical comparative form. By seeing the two phrases. p.

239). And some of their analogies may be due to our teaching. or do not distinguish between singular and plural forms as in English. he claims.” in which Bryson (1990) mentions that “on the strength of dictionary definitions alone a foreign visitor to your home could be excused for telling you that you have an abnormal child.’ which. ‘contrastive-based teaching. As you can see from this error example. Comparison between reading and writing errors Typical production errors are of production or distribution of verb groups (Table 1 in Appendix C). that your wife’s cooking is exceedingly odorous. We omit articles whenever possible. 5. This type of error is very puzzling because students learn. 150). But if the teacher is aware of the typical errors his students tend to make and what causes those errors to happen. 1983. Richards (1974) explains that a frequent way of introducing the simple and continuous forms to establish the contrast is false to English (p. Richards (1974) also insists that “a safer strategy for instruction is to minimize opportunities for confusion by selecting non-synonymous contexts for related words. students may draw an analogy that was and was + ing are past markers and produce such sentences as ‘he was climbed the tree or ‘I was going downtown yesterday 180). From this passage. This precaution can be applicable to teaching reading as well as writing because students may acquire a wrong analogy while learning to read although we do not realize about it until we see their production errors. . “Mother Tongue. in Japanese we tend to omit possessive adjectives. For instance. and intend nothing but the warmest praise” (p. by treating them at different times. from the day one at school. He continues to explain that when the past is introduced. he can prepare himself better in teaching and helping students solve their problems. gives “excessive attention to points of difference at the expense of realistic English” (p.’ ’ (p. However. 181). p. We should certainly be aware of this potential problem when teaching our students certain grammatical functions by contrast. 179). and quite often the mother tongue influences comprehension and production abilities of learners. Richards (1974) offers some insights to the puzzled teachers by expressing his doubt about a teaching method.東京家政筑波女子大紀要3 1999 4. this writer would like to quote a passage from a book. You will also notice that some errors occur because the learners have not learned the word order and sentence structure of English language properly. students often acquire a wrong analogy. 179). Conclusion To close this case study. both types of errors occur mostly because learners are not familiar with the structure of the target language. and that your speech at a recent sales conference was laughable. and by avoiding exercises based on contrast and transformation” (p. we realize that it is actually very difficult for EFL learners to choose right words at all occasions. In his article. the correct forms of verb phrases. Many other examples of typical production errors have a direct influence from the mother tongue of Japanese. Production errors and comprehension errors are often different because “recognition of a form is much easier than its production” (Duskova. − 208 − .

the dictionary would be the only means for them to rely on. & Larsen-Freeman. how can learners of EFL tell the difference in the nuances of the key words in the above quotation? Often the dictionary is the only source for them except their teachers. Richards (Ed. Schachter (Eds. J.). (1974). Error Analysis: Perspectives on Second Language Acquisition 172_188). On Sources of Errors in Foreign Language Learning. Celce-Murcia. New York: Longman.. C. Libuse. Syntactic components of the foreign language reading process. C. Summers. Robinett & J. C. S. and Related Aspects(pp. phrases. In J. 215_239). C. (pp. Duskova. We tend to forget this fact and assume our students are just lazy when they fail to understand some English passages or make seemingly very simple mistakes in producing English. Bryson. (1984). Reading in a Foreign Language(pp. G. W. New York: Longman. Vocabulary and Language Teaching(pp.). In J. Error Analysis: Perspectives on Second Language Acquisition 19_27). Longman.). R. J. Error Analysis: Perspectives on Second Language Acquisition 3_18). & Sampson. Error Analysis. In Jack C. . (1983). Inc. (pp. 139_159). S. The role of dictionaries in language learning. Corder. The Significance of Learners’ Errors. Richards (Ed. − 209 − . In Jack C. Richards (Ed. A.: Newbury House Publishers. London: (pp. If we are more aware of what our students must go through when learning English. or sentences cannot be derived directly from dictionary definitions alone. The Grammar Book: An ESL/EFL Teacher’s Course Rowley. Error Analysis: Perspectives on Second Language Acquisition 158_171). D. Second Language Learning: Contrastive Analysis. Mass.). H. (1974). (1974). Richards. In R.). We must therefore understand that without a teacher. . then we can be more efficient and helpful when teaching them in the classroom. In B. (1990). (1988). P.). Corder. Then. as they do not have the same background knowledge as native speakers do. London: Longman. The Study of Learner English. Richards. M. (1974). Richards (Ed. In J. (1983). Urquhart (Eds. Mother Tongue: English & How It Got That WayNew York: Avon Books. 111_125). McCarthy (Eds. Idiosyncratic Dialects and Error Analysis. Alderson & A. London: Longman.).Mariko MIYAO : Error Analysis to Understand Your Students Better Bryson persuades us that actual meanings of words. P. Carter & M. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press. References Berman. B. London: (pp. Longman. C. P. D. A Non-Contrastive Approach to Error Analysis.

Mikey decided. “Anyway. .1 “They have a custom called a ‘walkabout. “He must learn how to make a fire. Relative clauses: 4. . furarito tachiyoru. hearing the roar. rushed to the lion to help him.2 “.) 5. “A church worker had lighted a hanging oil lamp and left before the student came in. inspect chinaware. with women who will not pay any attention to him. because this is the time when he must show how truly strong he is.” or (2) “This is the reason (why) he must show how truly strong he is. .) 6.) 5.’) 4.) 4. Syntactic errors in constructions due to failure in dividing a sentence into meaningful portions and/or following events in the correct sequence 1. “Only when he completes his walkabout is he accepted as an adult member of his tribe.東京家政筑波女子大紀要3 1999 APPENDIX A Errors in Reading Comprehension (Textbook) TABLE 1. at 3:30 in the morning.” (Translating by (1) dividing the sentence into two complete sentences or (2) using ‘and’-conjunction plus ‘it’ in stead of ‘which’. and you can hear Chinese dialects. . “Only when he completes his walkabout is he accepted as an adult member of his tribe.” (Unable to understand the relation between ‘why’ and ‘wonder if.” (Misinterpreting the imperative mood (for invitation/suggestion) as a declarative clause.) 4.’ which is a survival test given to a young boy of thirteen or fourteen. mizu wo nomu tameni . “The news didn’t say what had brought him there or where his parents were when this strange incident happened.” (Unsure about the function of the -ing adverbial clause TABLE 2. . “The mouse. and how to find the next water hole where he can get some water to drink and rest.”) − 210 − . that the bed he had been sleeping in was not as comfortable as the one he had at his home. .” (Unable to translate the clause after ‘that’ and feeling that the sentence is too long and complicated.” (Failing to understand the clause is a dependent clause and dividing the sentence into two sentences to translate. “ (Misunderstanding that ‘there’ and ‘is’ are one unit. . soshite ) 2. “Just drop by.4 “He must find a water hole where he can get water to drink.’ Misinterpreting ‘left’ as the noun.3 “That is why people wonder if the world will be able to produce enough food for everyone on this earth. how to cook.” (Failing to understand that the underlined clause is a dependent clause linking to ‘where his parents were.” (Translating by (1) omitting ‘left before’ and inserting ‘then’ or (2) omitting ‘and left.” (Dividing the sentence after ‘walkabout is’ and misunderstanding the latter part as “he accepted (whom?) as an adult member of his tribe.) 3.) 2.”) 4.” (Translating as (1) “I used to do .) 4.” (Translation in the future tense does not sound natural in Japanese. .” ((1) Misinterpreting the word ‘only. .” (Translating as “He must find a water hole so that he can get water to drink.’) 3. . “He will fight men who are twice his size .’ (2) Dividing the sentence in a wrong place (after ‘walkabout is’) (3) Failing to understand the rule of a conditional sentence and subject/verb inversion in the main clause. . “This is why the bridge there is called . Syntactic errors in constructions (that are different in English and Japanese) 1. in the past. .

Mariko MIYAO : Error Analysis to Understand Your Students Better TABLE 3. “He put on not only his clothes but also gloves and overcoat. “Fact is stranger than fiction. .) 4.” (Misinterpreting ‘stranger’ as the noun. “A church worker had lighted a hanging oil and l e f t before the student came in. − 211 − . “You have probably seen at least one or two of Charlie Chaplin’s films. helpful) instead of tenihairu (accessible). .” (Misunderstanding the verb phrase as oita (placed something on somewhere). Lexical errors misinterpreting within a word class (No example) TABLE 6.) 3.) 2. “He used the regular beat of his pulse to time the movement of the weights. I am sure.” (Misinterpreting ‘left’ as the noun (the left side).) 2. says a proverb. “If you know that the freezing point is 32 degrees F. “Fresh seafood is available not only in fancy restaurants but also on busy streets. “The city has many steep hills and they make its cable cars a practical means of transportation as well as a unique attraction for tourists. Lexical errors involving cultural misunderstanding 1. you can imagine how cold it was.” (Misinterpreting ‘what’ as the wh-question word.” (Misinterpreting ‘time’ as the noun.” (Misunderstanding ‘I am sure’ at the end of a sentence as hontouni (definitely.” (Misinterpreting ‘why’ as the wh-question word. Lexical errors misinterpreting word classes 1. Lexical errors occurred mostly with polysemic abstracts 1.” (Misinterpreting ‘unique’ as ‘only. “This is why the bridge there is called . Translation: “This was about: What had happened to little Mikey whose age was only four?”) TABLE 5.) 5. really). can’t you?” (Misinterpreting the portion as “32 degrees below the freezing point (in Celsius). “This was what had happened to little Mikey whose age was only four.’) TABLE 4. 4.” (Misunderstanding ‘available’ as yakudatsu (useful.) 3.

” (Misinterpreting the abbreviation mark after “yrs’ as the period and the portion as the age of a person. .” (Unable to translate the underlined portion thinking it is too complicated and long. “Visitors to .” (Failing to understand where the ‘that’-clause links to. there is some coincidence.”) 5. Syntactic errors in constructions due to failure in dividing a sentence into meaningful portions and/or following events in the correct sequence 1. “Let’s find out what all the excitement is about!” (Failing to understand that ‘about’ links to ‘what. you are guaranteed to (have) an unforgettable experience.東京家政筑波女子大紀要3 1999 APPENDIX B Errors in Reading Comprehension (Authentic Materials) TABLE 1.” (Translation: “While Woodstock is waiting for something to happen. fantasy and adventure that awaits in this Kingdom of Dreams and Magic. every day and each person can have fun and meaningful hours. “Over 1 5 yrs. . . reading with Pooh can mean hours of fun each and every day. . “A personalized birth announcement is included in the see-through delivery pouch. “The Walt Disney Classics Collection captures all of the magic and emotion of your favorite Disney moments and brings them to life in an exclusive collection of fine animation art sculptures. experience in all round accounting practices.” (Failing to understand that the portion modifies the preceding noun phrase. . “The large cake comes professionally sliced in 16 equal portions separated by pastry papers . .”) 6..” (Unable to find where to start translating by complaining that there are too many verbs. (someone) reports including (the fact of) having seen through.” (Misinterpreting the portion as “his large size which he protects and the friend whom he protects” − 212 − . “. . . . “ . you are guaranteed an unforgettable experience full of unexpected happenings. .” (Misinterpreting ‘each’ as ‘each person. Translation: “By looking at the birthday through the delivery pouch.. Translation: “ .) 2. can experience .” (Translating “Agent (is) needed” as “Agent needs an American .”) 6.) TABLE 2.” (Misinterpreting that “n a t i v e’ modifies only ‘E n g l i s h . . Translation: “From happenings.) 3. Woodstock is an accident waiting to happen.” (Unable to understand which is the subject or the predicate. “Reliable native English. “Because of his size and the company he keeps. . .) 4.”) 3. Woodstock is an accident waiting to happen.’) 2.’ and ‘French and German’ a r e nationalities not languages.”) 4. “Because of his size and the company he keeps. .) 5. French and German teachers wanted for private lessons. . the magic of Disney in the nostalgia. Syntactic errors in constructions (that are different in English and Japanese) 1. “Agent needed for an American glass artist who is a national living treasure to develop.

Goofy’s house is right at home next to Toon Lake. .” (Misinterpreting ‘board’ as ita (flat wood)) 9. “As kids read along with Pongo.. . .) 6. Woodstock is an accident waiting to h a p p e n .” (Misinterpreting ‘touching’ as awarena (pitiful.” (Misunderstanding the verb ‘roll’ to mean that something actually rolls.) 8. relative intensity). Get some hair. ‘K e e p s’ was translated as mamotteiru (protects). Get a girlfriend. . Perdy. (ochasuru = offer or participate in a tea party)) 5. TABLE 4. . “There are also some co-sysops on this board. . . “Goofy’s house is on the right of and next to Toon Lake” 3.”) 2.” (Misinterpreting the word as choudo(exactly). “Just do it.. Failing to read other definitions.) 4.” 2. . . Lexical errors misinterpreting word classes 1. TABLE 5. .” (Translated word ookisa implies ‘a large size’. “Agent needed for an American glass artist who is a national living treasure to develop. . free from affectation). here is the latest . “University degree essential. Lexical errors occurred mostly with polysemic abstracts 1. one being me (mornar) and the other being Plague. . “ .” (Misinterpreting the word ‘native’ as sobokuna(simple. they get to move the story along by . Donald’s footprints can be found at M a n n’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood.” (Misinterpreting the word ‘degree’ as teido (extent. . “There are also some co-sysops of this board.” (Misinterpreting the proper noun as the common noun densenbyou contagious (a disease). “who treasures the national living.” (Misinterpreting the proper noun phrase as the common noun phrase “a Chinese theater” omitting “Mann’s. . .” (Misunderstanding ‘beachcomber’ as oonami (a big wave). “Because of his size and the company he keeps. .” (Misinterpreting ‘as’ as (kodomo-tachi ) no youni (just like kids). “Hello Kitty would love you to stay for tea!” (Translation: “Hello Kitty would love someone who offers (or participate in) tea (or a tea party). “N a t i v e English Sp eak ers are urgently needed to teach English conversation. Lexical errors misinterpreting within a word class 1. six sing-alongs and hundreds of surprise animations.” (Misinterpreting ‘living’ as the noun. .) − 213 − . . “If these are the kinds of things that are rolling through your mind. Misinterpreting ‘surprise animations’ as the noun and adjective dougano odoroki(animation’s surprise).) 2.) 7.’ That’s Nate’s touching. easily offended). . . . and ‘treasure’ as the verb. .Mariko MIYAO : Error Analysis to Understand Your Students Better TABLE 3. pathetic) and ‘sensitive’ as shinkeishitsuna (oversensitive. “ . sensitive advice . “ ‘Get a life. “A seacoast Victorian-style house with a touch of b e a c h c o m b e r eclecticism .) 3.” (Misinterpreting ‘right’ as the noun (migi meaning ‘a direction on the right side’. .

” (Unable to translate even though the student understood the following two sentences. Lexical errors caused by formal similarity of words 1. . .” (The noun ‘ear’ came out as ‘car’ because the home page was very lightly printed.) 4. .’.’ Unable to translate) 2.” “The Sysop of this BBS is Ronald. “Thanks for stopping by ! ” “Just do it ! ” “ . . 6. no entry of a word ‘messing’ in dictionaries. .) TABLE 9. . Common/colloquial expressions in English which are unknown for the learners 1. “That is why in 1987 she decided to create a ligne of cosmetics and launched a perfume.” (Mistaking the word ‘university’ for ‘universality. 4.) TABLE 8.” (‘e’ after ‘massiv’ is missing. “University degree essential. . 7. 2. most magical Walt Disney World celebration ever is under way ! ” “It’s been magically transformed into a 16-story birthday cake ! ” “. Also. (Maybe a term for an auto part) − 214 − .” (Typographical error for ‘line.” (Systems operator?) “The most memorable. the well smelling Connolly-leather and shining timber-work are proverbial. . 7. her ‘Sweet Babboo’. 8. . and play interactive learning games ! ” “Get a life. Get some hair. 3. “There are also some co-sysops on this board.” (Translating ‘there are’ as ‘they are’ (sorera). she has a schoolgirl crush on Linus. . the streets come alive every night . ‘le b. Errors in the text 1. Get a girlfriend. “The characteristic air grates and controls with m a s s i v. sing along. “Her trademark is the red bow she always wears on her left car.” (A period after ‘Salvado’ is missing. “Vanessa Paradis images on this site were scanned by Maria Margarida Salvado Special thanks to Miguel Gomes and Boys keep swinging. . chromed m e s s i n g. .’) 2. 5.東京家政筑波女子大紀要3 1999 TABLE 6 Lexical errors involving cultural misunderstanding (No example) TABLE 7.” “Read along. .) 3..

Mariko MIYAO : Error Analysis to Understand Your Students Better APPENDIX C Errors on Production Level TABLE 1. Omission of beverb before adjective: I absent from a part time job today. my. therefor it: I like Tokyo Disneyland. 3. So I’m go home early. do + not + verb for have + not + verb + ed(present perfect in negative mode): And I don’t still dicide (decide) to work too. (I work part-time . Errors in using possessives: Their’s song is very cute and pop. 6. about 20 peoples. What did you do with boyfriend? Sorry to short message! 2. to (Infinitive marker) omitted before verb stem(to-infinitive): I like eat. 2. be + verb stem be + verb + ing(progressive): for I’m very tired. (sultry/hot weather) − 215 − . 7. (I will be) I’m playing it since I was high school student. TABLE 2. (live) I’m 20 years old soon. modal + wrong form of verbfor modal + verb stem : So I can’t playing!! 4.) My summer vacation plan is working part-time job and going to the sea. too. noun phrase for adverb: I work a part time job in “COCO’S”. noun phrase for adjective: Member is my part me job friends. It is rain today.g. 5. Do you like there? 4. Miscellaneous errors 1. . (I don’t think I enjoy it. (friends on the part-time job?) Very very happiness. Omission of possessive adjectives (e. 8. have(+ not) + verb stemfor have (+ not) + verb + ed(present perfect): Have you get a job? I havn’t (haven’t) never tell to company. I don’t decide that what do I want. Unnecessary insertion of another verb: I like is water melon. I start it when I was 6 years old. (I have been playing) 9. 5. (happy) 6. Errors in negation: I think not enjoy. her. . too. I havn’t (haven’t) never tell to company.) Because I dont like high school class. ((for) answering (to) your letter) 3. But I have not gotten a job. Have a nice your summer vacation. (started) I am living alone in Tsukuba. Errors in the production or distribution of verb groups 1. adjective for noun: But I hate sultry. Errors in tenses: I try to tell to company today. your): Because I dont like high school class. I’m sorry I’m late your answering letter.

− 216 − . how long. Wrong form of auxiliary. TABLE 4. Errors in expressing idioms I’m looking forward to hear from soon. which day.3 2.2 3. My hobby is cooking cake and doria. Errors in the use of articles 1. TABLE 6. (cookinginstead of baking) .2 to instead of (none): This is very fun to me. 2. All character is very pretty. Do you go a trip? (Do you go on a trip?) I will work summer vacation. (the sea instead of the beach ) TABLE 8. And what are your hobby? Member is my part time job friends.東京家政筑波女子大紀要3 1999 Table 3. (forward to hearing from you soon) I am looking forward to hear from for your letter. I like sport. etc. Errors in the use of questions 1. I answer for your question.) 5.1 to instead of for: 1. . (About Disney characters) I have many CD. I’m playing it since I was high school student. I try to tell to company today.3 to instead of about: for instead of forward to. Inversion in indirect question: I don’t decide that what do I want. Omission of indefinite article (a or an) : It is rainy day today. I’m waiting your replying. I’m looking for your e-mail.1 3. Omission of definite article (the) : I havn’t (haven’t) never tell to company. Lexical errors (Confusion of related words with similar meaning) My hobby is cooking cake and doria. My hobby is shopping and to go to the movie. My hobby is listening to music and shopping. Errors in word order within a question: What do you like fruits? What do you like music? TABLE 7. going to the sea.1 2. . I go to there on Thuseday (Tuesday). I try to tell to company today. (for your reply) 1. Omission of inversion: What your hobby is? 3. I havn’t never tell to company. Sorry to short message. : for instead of (none) or to: (none) instead of on : (none) instead of during : (none) instead of for : TABLE 5. My hobbies is listening to music and playing the clarinet. Errors due to failure to observe singular/plural rules My hobby is window-shopping and drive. Errors in the use of prepositions 1.2 3. (what I want (to do)) 4. or wrong form after auxiliary: Do you studying hard for the test? What time do you working? (What time do you start working. Omission of wh-question word: Do you think the jounire colege(junior college)? (What do you think about the junior college?) 2. about 20 peoples.

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