Applied Linguistics II | Second Language | Second Language Acquisition

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  ERROR ANALYSISHuman learning is fundamentally a process that involves the making of mistakes !istakes mis#udgements miscalculations and erroneous assumptions forma n important aspect of learning virtually any skill or ac$uiring informationLanguage learning is like any other human learning %e have already seen thatchildren learning their &rst language makes countless 'mistakes( from the point of vie) of adult gramatical language !any of these mistakes are logical in the limited linguistic system )ithin )hich children operate *ut *y carefully processing feed*ack from others children slo)ly *ut surely learn to produce )hat is acepta*le speech in their native language Second language learning inits trial+and+error nature Inevita*ly learners )ill make mistakes in the process of ac$uisition and that process )ill *e impeded if they do not commit errors and then *ene&t from various forms of feed*ack on those errorsAs ,order noted- 'A learner.s errors/are signi&cant in they provide to the researcher evidence of ho) language is learned or ac$uired )hat strategies or procedures the learner is employing in the discovery of the language(!IS0A1ES AN2 ERRORSIn oredr to analy3e learner language in an appropiate perspective it is crucial to make a distinction *et)een mistakes and errors, technically t)o very di4erent phenomena A mistake refers to a performance error that is either a random guess or a 'slip( in that it is a failure to utili3e a kno)n system correctly Native speakers are normally capa*le of recogni3ing and correcting such 'lapses( or mistakes )hich are not the result of a de&ciency in competence *ut the result of some sort of temporary *reakdo)n or imperfection in the process of producing speech 0hese hesitations slips of the tongue random ungrammaticalities and other performance lapses in native+speaker production also occur in 5nd language speech !istakes )hen attention is called to them can *e self+corrected!istakes must *e carefully distinguished from errors of a 5nd language learner idiosyncrasies in the language of the learner that are direct manifestations of a system )ithin )hich a learner is operating at the timeAn error a noticea*le deviation from the adult gramar of a native speaker re6ects the competence of the learner Learners of English )ho ask '2oes7ohn can sing8( are in all likelihood re6ecting a competence level in )hich all ver*s re$uire a pre+posed do au9iliary for the $uestion formation As such it is an  error most likely not a mistake and an error that reveals a portion of the learner.s competence in the target language An error cannot *e self+corrected )hile mistakes can *e self+corrected if the deviation is pointed out to the speaker :ut the learner.s capacity for self+correction is o*#ectively o*serva*le only if the learner actually self+corrects; therefore if no such self+correction occurs )e are still left )ith no means to identify error vs mistake 0he fact that learners do make errors and that these errors can *e o*served analy3ed and classi&ed to reveal something of the system operating )ithin thelearner led to a surge of study of learners. errors called error analysis  Error analysis *ecame distinguished from contrastive analysis *y its e9amination of errors attri*uta*le to all possi*le sources not #ust resulting from negative transfer of the native language Error analysis easily superseded contrastive analysis as )e discovered that only some of the errors a learner makes are attri*uta*le to the mother tongue the learners do not actually make all the errors that contrastive analysis predicted they should and that learners from disparate language *ackgrounds tend to make similar errors in learning one traget language ERRORS IN ERROR ANALYSIS 0here is a danger in too much attention to learners. errors %hile errors indeedreveal a system at )ork the classroom language teacher can *ecome so preoccupied )ith noticing errors that correct utterances in the 5nd language gounnoticed In our o*servation and analysis of errors )e must *e)are of placing too much attention on errors and not lose sight of the value of positive reinforcement of clear free communication %hile the diminishing of errors is an important criterion for increasing language pro&ciency the ult<mate goal of 5nd language learning is the attainment of communicative 6uencyAnother shortcoming in error analysis is an overemphasis on production data Language is speaking and listening )riting and Reading 0he comprehension of language is as important as production It so happens that production lends itself to analysis and thus *ecomes the prey of researchers *ut comprehensiondata is e$ually important in developing an understanding of the process of SLA  A learner )ho for one reason or another avoids a particular sound %ord structure or discourse category may *e assumed incorrectly to have di=culty there)ith>inally error analysis can keep us too closely focused on speci&c languages rather tan vie)ing universal aspects of language Researchers pay more attention to linguistic elements that are common to all languages 0he language systems of learner may have elements that re6ect neither the targetlanguage nor the native language *ut rather a universal feature of some kind I2EN0I>YIN? AN2 2ES,RI:IN? ERRORSOne of the common di=culties in understanding the linguistic systems of *oth &rst and second language learners is the fact that such systems cannot *e directly o*served 0hey must *e inferred *y means of analy3ing production andcomprehension data  0he &rst step in the process of analysis is the identi&cation and description of errors ,order provided a model for identifying erroneous or idiosyncratic utterances in a 5nd language According to ,order.s model any sentence uttered *y the learner and su*se$uently transcri*ed can *e analy3ed for idiosyncrasies A ma#or distinction is made at the outset *et)een overt  and covert errors Overtly errouneous utterances are un$uestiona*ly ungrammatical at the sentence level ,overtly erroneous utterances are gramatical )ell+formed at the sentence level *ut are not interpreta*le )ithin the conte9t of communication ,overt errors in other )ords are not really covert at all if you attend to surrounding discourse @*efore or after the utterance 'I.m &ne thank you( is grammatically correct at the sentence level *ut as a response to '%ho are you8( it is o*viously an error A simpler and more straightfor)ard set of terms then )ould *e 'sentence level( and 'discourse level( errorsA num*er of di4erent categories for description of errors have *een identi&ed in research on learner language-B+0he most generali3ed *reakdo)n can *e made *y identifying errors of addition omission su*stitution and ordering follo)ing standard mathematical categories In English a do au9iliary might *e added @2oescan he sing8 a de&nite article omitted @I )ent to movie an <tem su*stituted @I lost my road or a %ord order confused @I to the store )ent :ut such categories are clearly vey generali3ed5+%ithin each category levels of language can *e considered- phonology or orthography le9icCn gramar and discourse Often of course it is  di=cult to distinguish di4erent levels of errors A %ord )ith a faulty pronunciation for e9ample might hide a sytantic or le9ical errorD+Errors may also *e vie)ed as either glo*al or local ?lo*al errors hinder communication; they prevent the hearer from comprehending some aspect of the message >or e9ample '%el it.s a great hurry around( in )hatever conte9t may *e di=cult or imposi*le to interpret Local errors do not prevent the message from *eing Heard usually *ecause there is only a minor violation of one segment of a sentence allo)ing the hearerreader to make an accurate guess a*out the intended meaning 'A scissors( for e9ample is a local error 4- >inally Lennon suggests that t)o related dimensions of error domain and extent  should *e considered in any error analysis 2omain is the Rank of linguistic unit @from phoneme to discourse that must *e taken as conte9t in order for the error to *ecome apparent and e9tent is the rank of linguistic unit that )ould have to *e deleted replaced supplied or reordered in order to repairthe sentenceSOFR,ES O> ERRORHaving e9amined procedures of error analysis used to identify errors in 5nd language learner production data our &nal step in the analysis of erroneous learner speech is that of determining the source of error 0hese sources must *e inferred from availa*le data :y trying to identify sources )e can take another step to)ard understanding ho) the learner.s cognitive and a4ective processes relate to the linguistic systemand to formGlate an integrated understanding of the process of 5nd language ac$uisitionInterlingual 0ransferAs )e have already seen interlingual transfer is a signi&cant source of error for all learners 0he *eginning stages of learning a 5nd language are especially vulnera*le to interlingual transfer from the native language or interference In these early stages *efore the system of the5nd language is familiar the native language is the only previous linguistic system upon )hich the learner can dra) %hile it is not al)ays clear that an error is the result of transfer from the native language many such errors are detecta*le in learner speech >luent kno)ledge ore ven familiarity )ith a learner.s native language of course aids the teacher in detecting and analy3ing such errorsIntralingual 0ransferOne of the ma#or contri*utions of learner language research has *een itsrecognition of sources oferror that e9tend *eyond interlingual errors in learning a second language It is no) clear that intralingual transfer
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