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Language Learning Dr. Salwa Fathi Ben-Amer Faculty of Arts, English Department University of Garyounis
the learner should find the correct linguistic form by searching for it. 2 . Errors show the process of constructing a new system of language. and clarify what strategies they apply to learn from their errors which they discover by themselves. The aim of this paper is to point out the significant of learners’ errors for the teachers. He is the father of Error Analysis . This paper concerns the error analysis which has become a field of linguistics and helps teachers to find out the sources of errors and take pedagogical precautions towards them. Common mistakes are a necessary element of all learning due to the phrase that says “learn from your mistakes". 1.This field influenced by behaviorism which suggested that learning acquires a set of habits and errors considered as being a result of the persistence of existing mother tongue habits in the new language. Introduction Error analysis in second language acquisition (SLA) was established by Corder (1967).The Nature and Role of Errors in Second Language Learning Salwa Ben-Amer University of Garyounis Abstract It is inevitable that learners make mistakes or errors in the process of foreign language learning. Researchers and teachers of foreign languages realize that mistakes are needed to be analyzed carefully as an important step in understanding some of the keys of second language acquisition. We all know that the only way to avoid language mistakes would be to avoid speaking and writing in a foreign language and that would be bad. It is the contrastive analysis which predicts that a majority of errors are produced by making faulty inferences between native language and the target language or about the rules of the target language. In this regard. They deal effectively with learner production (speaking and writing) and not with learner reception (listening and reading). So researchers sought to use the distinctions between the learners’ first and second languages to predict errors. They are also an indication of the students’ progress. researchers and learners themselves. Error analysts distinguish between errors according to basic type or level of language or degree to which they interfere with communication.
claims Olsson (1974) constitute of learning. 2 Interpretation of Errors What is an error? “Pedagogically. “Error”. Corder (Ibid. 2. George (1972). Such as interlingual errors due to L1 (mother tongue) interference. Larsen et al 1991).The focus will also be on the pedagogical interpretation of errors according to many scholars in the field of linguistics and error analysis. Also it presents classification of errors according to the views many scholars in this field and shows the origins of the learner’s errors: are they due to the first language interference or to faulty inferences about the rules of the target language? At the end of this study. and intralingual errors which are committed regardless of L1. there are answers to many questions about the correction of the errors and what kind of feedback should teachers give to their students. Non-systematic errors 3 .) argues that it is useful to refer to errors to perform as mistakes and they have no significance to the language learning process. Gass and Selinker (2007) mention that systematic errors occur repeatedly and not recognized by the learner but by the teacher. Selinker (2007: 150) said errors are indispensable to learners since the making of errors can be regarded as a device the learner uses in order to learn. Corder (1973:259) states that errors take place "as a result in unacceptable utterances and appear as breaches of the code". Gass and Selinker (2001) identify errors as systematic which like to occur repeatedly and not recognized by the learner just the researcher could locate them. He argues that the course designer’s choice is made according to the performance he wants without taking into consideration the learner’s mental process and his previous knowledge of language which represents the gap between the input and the output where the information is stored. Both Corder (1967) and James (1998) make a distinction between a mistake and an error. (D. but an error cannot. A mistake as unsystematic error can be self–corrected. This kind of errors made by second language learners came as a result of the lack of target language (L2) knowledge.1 Classification of Errors Error analysts often seek to develop typology of errors which can be categorized in terms of various criteria. an error is viewed as unwanted form which the course designer or the teacher does not want”.
Incomplete Application of Rules Under this types of error. over-generalization. It could be. An example of this is the difficulty of using inversion when the learners form questions for instance.occur in the normal adult speech in their native language due to memory lapses or physical states. b. Ignorance of Rule Restriction It is the application of rules to contexts where they do not apply. because they involve the process of ignoring the rule restrictions. to change He walks quickly’ to the continuous He is walking quickly’ is likely to produce He is walks quickly. c. Why this man is cold? Richards (1971:22) attributes this to redundancy which is the same category. d false concept hypothesized a. incomplete application of rules. overgeneralization. ignorance of rule restriction. It means the learner reduce his linguistic burden. for instance. 4 . the occurrence of structures are to be noted whose deviancy represents the degree of development of the rules required to produce acceptable utterances. error analysis is concerned only with systematic errors to provide an evidence of how language is learnt. The second factor is the interference of the utterances with each other when applying certain types of teaching techniques including: pattern drills and transformation exercises. For example. These types of errors do not reflect a defect in the native speaker’s knowledge of their own language. for example: The man who I saw him It is not clear why these types of errors cannot be classified directly as overgeneralization. Over-generalization The learner produces deviant structures on the basis of his experience of other structures in the language because of the influence of two factors: the first one is the redundancy reduction. b. It is the omission of the third person (comes). c. He come to England. Richards (1971:12-22) classifies English errors produced by speakers of several language backgrounds into four types: a. So.
& Douglas.204). (Selinker. c) Strategies of Second Language Learning It is suggested that there is a tendency on the part of learners to reduce the target language to a simple system For example. The frequent inability of Arab learners to distinguish between /b/ and /p/ sound is an example of this type of error. c) strategies of second language learning. tend to produce interlanguge forms such as “I am feeling thirsty ““I am hearing him “(Selinker 1972) According to Selinker (2007). False Concept Hypothesized It is the developmental errors which derive from faulty comprehension of the target language. Richards (1971:22) traces these errors to the teaching received that based on contrastive analysis of English and another language or on contrasts within English itself. This comparison reveals a separate linguistic system which can be observed when studying the utterance of the learner who trying to produce meaning in the target language. learners strategies are culture bound to some extent .As an example chanting is used as a learning device in many traditional cultures. d) strategies of second language communication “redundancy in communication”. 190. b) Transfer of Training Refers to the grammatical knowledge acquired by the learner through the medium of instruction.. Selinker proposed anther another classification of errors (1972:209-241) He classified five types of errors: a) language transfer. He notes that the utterances produced by the learner are different from that native speaker. For example. b) transfer of training. D.d. They are errors which are traceable to the methodology of teaching and they are the items resulting from particular approaches used in training. They are errors which can be traceable to the learner’s mother tongue especially in pronunciation. Who learn transitive and intransitive verbs. e) overgeneralization of the target language patterns . learners. (1985) p. L. learners may produce He was went or He is speaks. They attempt to convey the same meaning. These strategies are presented in the 5 . a) Language transfer It plays a role whose influence on SLA but not all researchers in this field are agreed upon. Another classification of errors was proposed by Larry Selinker who proposed the theory of interlanguage.
It is also possible to categorize learner's errors on the basis of the linguistic levels. elaborates on the following classification of learner errors: a) Grammatical errors which stress the need for grammatical accuracy in speech and writing these types may hinder communication. An example of this is the learners utterances which lack [S] in he come or [ed] in yesterday he play football These are errors which traceable to redundancy in communication. They both represent simplification of the target language by the learners to reduce the linguistic burden. Another example is where learners over generalize the use of drive to all vehicles. Lee (1990:59). drive a bicycle instead of ride a bicycle. 6 . d) Strategies of Second Language Communication “Redundancy in Communication” These strategies which are used by the learners dictate them internally as they were the knowledge of the target language in order to communicate. For example. So when the learner realizes that he has some difficulties in the linguistic competence. These kinds of errors reflect learner’s cultural knowledge of language use. standed instead of stood. But errors at the sentence level “reflect performance" It means "immediate teacher correction is not necessarily appropriate” b) Discourse errors: which depend on the observance of the rules of speaking and writing.conscious and subconscious level. e) Overgeneralization The learner may over-generalize the use of [ed] in irregular verbs. has no socio-functional need to change his language so it fossilizes in that state . Selinker (1972) mentioned that if communication is successful then transfer will happen. Here the danger is that successful communication does not depend entirely on formal correction that means it could lead to fossilization where the learner uncorrected but still able to successfully get his message understood . he uses some strategies to get through the situation. One of the criticisms to this classification is that the difference between communication strategies is not clear. for instance.
instead of saying. For example: He works in the field Instead of He works on the field. as in live/leave. They may obstruct communication. conjunction and pronouns. and where differences exist.c) Phonologically-induced errors: they manifested in wrong pronunciation. It is a traditional version of the contrastive analysis hypothesis which predicts that elements of a foreign language that are similar to the student’s native language will be simple. 3. John. is very difficult. Mary and Robert They say John and Mary and Robert. Hagege (1999:81) argues that the teacher should know that a child who is in the process of acquiring a second language will subconsciously invent structures influenced by knowledge. exit (noun)/exit (verb). (Lightbown and Spada 1999:73). d) Lexical errors: they are manifested in speaking and writing. These errors should be corrected immediately by the teacher. For instance. the transfer of function words such as preposition. Various researchers have concentrated on errors which demonstrate the influence of one’s native language to second language acquisition. because they may have a meaning-differentiating function. These errors are due to lexical interference most often happens unintentionally. he already possesses and this may constitute errors which are completely natural. French speakers learning English and English speakers learning French would make errors on parallel linguistic features. 7 . For example. leave/leaf. Errors and Mother Tongue–Interference Johanson (1975) states that to use two languages familiarly and without contaminating one by the other. errors would be bidirectional. and those elements that are different will be difficult. Also.
they often compare that with its Arabic equivalence using literal translation. On the other hand. wherever there are verbs or expressions in the L1 and L2 that have different structures. he notes that the ear acts like filter.The influence of L1 on L2 was also examined by Lakkis and Malak (2000) who concentrate on the transfer of Arabic prepositional knowledge to English (by Arab students). they say: /feri/ instead of /veri/ (very) and /bensl/ instead of /pensl/ (pencil). whose native language is Arabic. the ear only accepts sounds that belong to one’s native language thus. and after 11 years “critical age”. Consider the following example: 8 . They examined both positive and negative transfer in order to help teachers identify problematic areas for Arab students and help them to know where transfer should be encouraged or avoided. This can be seen clearly when they replace the English sounds that do not exist in Arabic such as /v/ and /p/ with their nearest Arabic sounds. 20). they say I go to home Rather than I go home Also Hagege (1999:33) discusses the influence of L1 on accent. can use the students’ L1 for structures that use equivalent prepositions in both languages. that take prepositions. Arab learners have a tendency towards the overuse of prepositions in English similar to that in Arabic. or that have no equivalent in one of the languages. instructors should point of these differences to their students (Ibid. Examples of Negative L1 transfer Errors: Grammatical errors in prepositions: there are various prepositions in English that have the same function and when Arab students do not know which preposition to use in a certain sentence. For example. They concluded that an instructor of English. learners of a foreign language will only use the sounds existing in their native language when producing L2 sounds. For instance. which may often obstruct communication.
ٜٝجة اُ ٝأتٜ اىَجزً قثو اىقاض instead of saying: ٜٝحة أُ َٝخو اىَجزً أٍاً اىقاض Here the preposition before is translated literally. This can be manifested in the following example: the criminal has to come before the judge. out of context. Also. Arab learners give the literal meaning of English texts which either distorts the meaning or gives different meaning from that of the original. An Arabic preposition may be translated by several English prepositions while an English usage may have several Arabic translations". Scott and Tucker (1974:85) claim that “prepositions seldom have a one to one correspondence between English and Arabic. b) Syntactic errors: “in English. c) Lexical Errors it is also possible that students transfer some lexical item to the target language. each item in a series is preceded by the conjunction “ٗ ”اى٘اwhich is literally and” Diab (www. Sometimes. items in a series are separated by commas and the coordinate conjunction and is used just before the last word on the other hand.pucsp) .e.lael. 9 .He lives in the second floor Rather than He lives on the second floor This is clearly mother tongue interference. i. For instance some learners of English give the same Arabic meaning of English prepositions such as they say I saw the programme in TV instead of on TV. they say he speaks for me rather than he speaks to me. d) Semantic Errors due to Literal Translation. in Arabic.
reflecting learners’ attempts to make the task of learning and using the target language simply. all learners' errors are based on language transfer. According to contrastive analysis. that errors in these areas of difference drive from first language interference and that these errors can be predicted and remedied by the use of contrastive analysis( Johansson and Johansson 1998:85) The contrastive analysis hypothesis claims that all errors made in L2 could be attributed to interference by L1. which concern organizing remedial courses and devising materials and teaching strategies based on theoretical error analysis. Stenson (1974) proposes this kind of induced errors which result from incorrect instruction of the language and not due to first-language interference. but also to faulty inferences about the rules of the target language. They are caused by the influence of one target language item upon another. These errors result from faulty learning of the target language. they say: He is comes have. They are applied error analysis. Lack of capitalization in the Arabic alphabet and very different punctuation conventions made incongruent to English. These kinds of errors are called “intralingual errors” which seem to be universal. It can be said that the contrastive Analysis hypothesis claims that difficulties in language learning derive from the differences between the new language and the learner’s first language. but subsequent research in errors analysis shows that this claim is imperfect. Error analysis. No distinction is made between upper and lower case. Most errors are not due to transfer only. it was Corder who points out that they can be facilitative and provide information about one’s learning strategies. interference errors were regarded as inhibitory. learners’ attempts to use two tense markers at the same time in one sentence because they have not mastered the language yet. Before Corder’s work. For example. but they also reflect some universal learning strategies. as a branch of applied linguistics demonstrates that learner's errors are not only because of the interference of learner’s native language. using the past tense suffix ed for all verbs as an example of simplification and over-generalization.e) Capitalization LNO capital letters in Arabic. 10 . For example. so interalingual errors occur as a result of learners’ attempt to build up concepts and hypotheses about the target language from their limited experience with it.
2) Another example. 1996) 11 . Error in pluralization. Like the example Daddy my car happy tomorrow buy. use of articles. it is implied that priority in error correction should be given to global errors to develop the student’s communication skills.4. is it global or local. and see whether the student can correct himself. The teacher should correct them without interrupting the speaker (Ur. it is the teacher's job to find out when something has gone wrong and see whether it is just a mistake or error. It is an important clue for the teacher to decide on the sort of treatment. connectors in terms of the comprehensibility of the sentence. In Oral Works It is important to realize that the type of the feedback-form content grammar point or pronunciation should be decided on according to the goal of the study. This sentence usually need not be corrected as the message is clear. tenses. Whereas global errors need to be treated since the message is not comprehended clearly. There are different opinions by different language teaching approaches regarding error correction. Brown (2000) suggests that local errors as I gave she a present. For example: 1) Corder (1973) stated that since a teacher has no time to deal with all errors of the students. priority should be given to errors which may affect communication and cause misunderstanding. First of all the teacher should know the source of errors to be able to provide an appropriate remedy. Therefore. There is a technique of correction which should be followed. Here correction might interrupt a learner in his communication. Studies of Corrective Feedback Error analysis has an important role in finding the questions that should be raised: How should teachers correct students? What kind of feedback should they give? Does each error need to be treated? In general. etc… are less important than errors regarding word order.
she stresses the importance of self–correction and she refers to Corder’s distinction of errors as mistakes and errors. So the diagnoses and treatment of errors is one of the fundamental skills of the teacher. This approach consists of questions that the teacher provides to students. but should mark it indirectly for example: sp rw for written to spelling mistake. Difficulties Facing Error Learning Are making mistakes is a good way to learn a language? Isn't speaking and writing with mistakes an effective way to learn a foreign language? The proponent of this claim picture the feedback based learning by the following as illustrated by Tomasz Szynalski. and errors that have a highly stigmatizing effect on the listeners (www. These kinds of error are not of serious nature and are similar to what Corder (1973) called “mistakes” Freiermuth goes on to suggest a hierarchy of errors according to seriousness which should be corrected by a teacher.ac. He explains that: errors that significantly impair communication are the top of the list. She suggests a fear-step approach for self-correction. The learner says or writes sentences.In Written Works The teacher should not correct the students’ mistakes directly.jp). makes some mistakes. trying to answer the questions. linguistic form in the L2. in the second task to concentrate on prepositions. due to their stress because they have to produce accurately. students should read it four times. Next he will make fewer mistakes and the process will repeated until 12 . Freiermuth (1997) points out that errors which should not be corrected “non-serious errors” which occur due to learners’ nervousness in the classroom. students are able to correct themselves. the third task to concentrate on nouns. Thus. finally they should correct potential personal mistakes. errors that reflect misunderstanding or incomplete acquisition of the current classroom focus. A different approach to error correction is suggested by Porte (1993). After writing an essay. the teacher corrects them. followed by errors that occur frequently. and the learner memorizes them. 5. She notes that it is very important that students know how to identify an error in order to avoid it in the future. Languagehyper. The first task asks them to high light the verbs check the tenses.
6 Conclusion In conclusion. because it has huge number of words. and profound differences in usage to memorize. but also understand the psychological reasons for the occurrences. with many pauses because he has to think what to say. (c ) It can reinforce mistakes It's a profound fault when your brain gets used to repeat or be familiar with incorrect sentences and you spend most of your time listening to bad grammar because the correction will not always occur and you will listen to your own incorrect version of English grammar for a long time . The learner will speak slowly. as long as they can understand him. Refrain an awareness of the types of errors learners tend to commit is necessary for language teachers to be able properly correct them. the diagnoses and treatment of errors is one of the fundamental skills of the teacher. Therefore. this area of error analysis helps linguists realize that although errors sometimes obstruct communication. knowledge or time. they will not correct his mistakes. There is also a problem of finding a good teacher. the inevitable existence of errors has led researchers to study on them and fired out the correct steps for language learning. they can often facilitate second language acquisition and they played an important role in training teachers in teaching students in another words. The learner needs an enormous number of correct examples of the target language but the flow of information is too slow. (b) It requires a competent teacher A learner will not find a feedback-giver outside classroom even if he tries to interact with native speakers. It is inevitable to know that a teacher should be able to not only detect and describe the errors from a linguistic view.the learner will produce sentences without any errors. Some researchers think that this model does not work because of variety of reasons: (a) It is too slow Language learning is a very memory intensive task. structures. 13 . Some non-native teachers ignore many mistakes due to insufficient attention. phrases.
P.209-241 Selinker. C. 14 . Scott. No3. S. Middlesex. (1996). Tomasz Szynalski The Role of mistakes in Language Learning. 38. Pelican Books Corder. s. George. Hagege. Richards. M. K. Oxford: Black well Lee. Vol.3: 246-253 Johanson. (1971) Errors Analysis and Second Language Strategies.17. and Selinker. International Review of Applied Linguistics 5: 161-9 Corder. International Review of Applied Linguistics. Selinker.(1967). Language sciences. J. V.. N.and H. Massachusetts: Rowley. Essex: Longman . 24:69-97. Error analysis and English language strategies of Arab students.(1990) Notions of “ Error” and Appropriate Corrective Treatment. Gass. L. (1972) Common Errors in Language Learning. K. The Significance of Learners’ Errors. chapter 3.P. p . Lakkis. (2007) Second Language Acquisition: an Introductory Course. Language learning.29. Papers in Linguistics and Language Teaching 13 Lightbown. (1973) Introducing Applied Linguistics. pp. S. Cambridge. A course in language teaching. and M. H. L (1972) Inter language. Ur. (1973) Introducing Applied Linguistics.(1975) The Uses of Error Analysis and Contrastive Analysis.P. and Tucker R. Johanson. p. NJ: LEA. and N. Johanson (1998) Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Applied Linguistics. 12-22. (2000) Understanding the Transfer of Prepositions forum. English Language Teaching. Cambridge University Press.A Malak. S. S.References Corder. (forthcoming). Penguin.L (1996) The Child Between Two Languages: Editions Odile Jacob. Vol. 10. (2007) Rediscovering language.(1974). Spade (1999) How languages are learned New York: Blackwell.2. Mahwah.
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ٗقذ أدرك اىثاحخُ٘ ٗاألساتذج اُ ْٕاك حاجح ىٖذٓ األخطاء ىنٜ ٝتٌ تحيٞيٖا تعْاٝح مخط٘ج ٕاٍح ىفٌٖ تعض أساسٞاخ تعيٌ اىيغح اىخاّٞح. ٗاىٖذف ٍِ ٕذٓ اى٘رقح ٕ٘ ت٘ضٞح إَٔٞح ٕذٓ األخطاء تاىْسثح ىيَذرسِٞ ٗ اىثاحخِٞ ٗحتٚ اىَتعيَِٞ أّفسٌٖ. 61 . ٗت٘ضح األخطاء عَيٞح تْاء ّظاً جذٝذ فٜ اىيغح ٕٜٗ أٝضا ٍؤشز عيٚ تقذً ٍست٘ٙ اىطالب ٗمذىل تحذٝذ االستزاتٞجٞاخ اىتٜ ٝجة تطثٞقٖا ىنٜ ٝتعيٌ ٕؤالء اىطالب ٍِ أخطائٌٖ اىتٜ ٝنتشفّٖ٘ا تأّفسٌٖ. ٗفٜ ٕذا اإلطار ٝجة عيٚ اىَتعيٌ أُ ٝجذ اىشنو اىيغ٘ٛ اىصحٞح عِ طزق اىثحج عْٔ تْفسٔ.طبيعة ودور األخطاء في تعلم اللغة الثانية الملخص الدكتورة: سلوى فتحي بن عامر كلية اآلداب جمعة قاريونس أّ ٍِ اىَسيٌ تٔ تأُ اىَتعيَِٞ ٝزتنثُ٘ أخطاء إحْاء تعيٌ ىغح أجْثٞح ، ٗاألخطاء اىشائعح ٕٜ فٜ اى٘اقع عْاصز ضزٗرٝح فٜ مو عَيٞاخ اىتعيٌ ّظزا ىيق٘ه اىسائذ "ّتعيٌ ٍِ أخطائْا" ٗميْا ّعيٌ اُ اىطزٝقح اى٘حٞذج ىتفادٛ األخطاء اىيغ٘ٝح ٕٜ تفادٛ اىتحذث أٗ اىنتاتح تيغح أجْثٞح ٕٗذا أٍز سٜء.