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Error Analysis

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Natasha Nygaard

on 15 March 2013

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Transcript of Error Analysis

Error Analysis Rod Ellis
Gary Barkhuizen In the beginning the word was.... Steps to error analysis Principles of Interlanguage What are the basics of Error Analysis? Identify
Explain 1) Implicit linguistic knowledge
2) Systematic (regular patterns in usage, errors)
3) Permeable (mutable)
4) Transitional (develops over time in stages)
5) Variable errors (learner makes different mistakes on same structure during same stage)
6) Interlanguage is the product of general learning strategies such as overgeneralisation and simplification
7) Learners supplement with communication strategies such as borrowing
8) Interlanguage may fossilize 1) Collection of a sample of learner language
2) Identification of errors
3) Description of errors
4) Explanation of errors
5) Evaluation of errors Putting it into ACTION Four Learner Modifications of Target Forms Description of Errors Identification of errors 1) Reconstruction (native speaker version)
2) Ignore correct utterances (those which match the reconstruction)
3) Identify how learner utterances differ from the reconstruction compare learner's production to native speaker reconstruction
describe surface properties of learner utterances 1) Omission
2) Addition
- regularising
- double-marking
- simple additions
3) Misinformation (wrong morpheme/structure)
- regularisation
- archiforms (e.g. "me" used for subject and object)
- alternating forms (e.g. "don't + V" & "no + V"
4) Misordering
BONUS: Blends (e.g. "The only one thing I want") Theoretical Underpinnings Error Evaluation Intralingual Errors Types of Errors - Interlingual Interlingual errors are due to a mother tongue transfer that has become part of the L2 interlanguage
Transfer errors are different from borrowings, borrowings are the temporary use of L1 as a communication strategy Intralingual errors are those errors which are part of the L2 interlanguage
Can be "natural" or "induced"
Natural errors result from the intuitive code-breaking strategies of the learner (overgeneralisation)
Induced errors result from formal instruction
e.g. "Lizzy, ask James where he went to elementary school." -> *"James, where you went to elementary school?" In conclusion... Explanation of Errors Determine source of error to find out why it was made
psycholinguistic sources of error (processing mechanisms involved in L2 use/L2 knowledge system)
sociolinguistic sources (playing dumb to get out of trouble, etc) According to SLA theorists, this is the most important step. Reason for errors It is difficult for learners to access L2 knowledge while communicating
not yet automatised L2 forms require controlled processing (hard on information processing systems)
learners resort to non-standard forms that have already been automatised Second language learner errors are highly systematic Error Analysis requires a clear definition of what constitutes an error.

Generally, researchers choose either grammaticality or acceptability as their criterion. Learners may be able to correctly output a structure in a simple sentence, but may still make an error when the structure is part of a coordinating clause

An error is that which would not be produced by a native speaker in the same context. Error Evaluation The assessment of the seriousness of an error History of Error Analysis Error analysis dates back to the 18th century for analysis of native speakers' errors.
Goal was to get people to use "proper" speech, the King's English. Analysing Learner Language A) Learner
1. Proficiency level
2. Other languages
3. Language learning background
B) Language
1. Medium
2. Genre
3. Content
C) Production
1. Unplanned
2. Planned Some of the above premises are still in dispute 2005 wrong! } (primarily) errors in production
speech Mostly used for pedagogical purposes Sidenote: In England, one's manner of speaking was and still is very important to one's social standing Error Analysis for SLA Error analysis for SLA began to replace contrastive analysis in the 1960s
CA - behaviourism
EA - nativism, interlanguage theory
From the '60s to the mid 70's, EA was very popular
Now used primarily as a tool for measuring accuracy
Also useful for mother-tongue literacy and forensic linguistics Important Findings in Error Analysis Jillian sang a song.

*Jillian's friends smiled because she singed a song. According to Lennon ('90s EA researcher)... But what is error? (Corder 1974) Factors Description Elementary, intermediate, or advanced
The learner's L1, other L2s
Instructed, naturalistic, mixed

Oral or written
e.g. conversation, narrative, essay
The topic of the discourse

Prepared speech/writing Absolute Errors vs. Dispreferred Forms A continuum, not a dichotomy Subjective Two Dimensions of Reconstruction Domain of error: breadth of context

Extent: size of unit that needs reconstruction in order to repair error

Small domain and narrower extent = easier to identify word, phrase
clause, sentence... Steps 1) Develop descriptive categories to code identified errors
2) Record the frequency of errors Taxonomy A system of categories
*delicate, sensitive
*user-friendly <- Based on descriptive grammar of target language & data driven sub-categories Errors should be classified in terms of target language categories not the linguistic categories used by the learner Yesterday Martin marry his life-long sweetheart verb phrase - past simple tense - regular verb
*verb phrase - present simple tense Example Pros and Cons Descriptive taxonomy + practical
- fails to acknowledge that interlanguages are unique grammars in their own right However, learners do compare themselves to native speaker norms, thus the use of target language-based taxonomy can be justified <- Is this not just another example of simple addition? Error or Mistake? Errors are due to a gap in L2 knowledge
Mistakes are due to a difficulty in processing not yet fully mastered forms How to distinguish errors from mistakes Does the learner alternate between correct and incorrect forms?
If yes, it's probably a mistake (due to information overload)
If not, it's probably an error (due to ignorance) Alternatively... Ask the learner! If the learner can self-correct it was a mistake! Learners are less likely to transfer non-prototypical forms
less likely to make transfer errors when L1 is distant from L2 Transfer error or intralingual error?
Sometimes it's hard to tell! So many ways to go wrong! 1) False analogy, e.g. boy -> boys ... child -> *childs
2) Misanalysis, e.g. *its = plural
3) Incomplete rule application, e.g. "Nobody knew where was Sam"
4) Exploiting redundancy (omission of non-meaningful grammatical features)
5) Overlooking co-occurrence restrictions, e.g. *quick food (vs. fast food)
6) System-simplification, e.g. "that" used for "this" and "that") It is not easy to identify the error source because the surface forms could be the result of several of the above errors Supplemental procedure for applying results of an error analysis 1) Select errors to evaluate
2) Decide criteria on which errors are to be judged (gravity, intelligibility)
3) Prepare error evaluation instrument (ranking list of erroneous sentences)
4) Choose at least 2 (perferably native speaker) judges Error analysis is limited because it..
- ignores what learners do correctly
- cannot account for avoidance Early error analysis focused on illustrating errors, not quantifying them. Remains primarily as a pedagogical tool to help teachers decide what structures they need to re-teach, etc. Factors affecting learner errors in samples of learner languge Different Kinds of Intralingual Errors
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