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Unit 8

Concept of Error Analysis

 

 

 

Error analysis is an activity to reveal errors found in writing and speaking. Richards et.al (1985:96) state that error analysis is the study of errors made by the second and foreign language learners. Error analysis may be carried out in order to (a) find out how well someone knows a language, (b) find out how a person learns a language, and (c) obtain information on common difficulties in language learning, as an aid in teaching or in the preparation of teaching materials. This definition stresses the functions of error analysis.

Another concept of error analysis is given By Brown (1980:166). He defined error analysis as the process to observe, analyze, and classify the deviations of the rules of the second language and then to reveal the systems operated by learner. It seems this concept is the same as the one proposed by Crystal (1987:112) i.e. error analysis is a technique for identifying, classifying and systematically interpreting the unacceptable forms produced by someone learning a foreign language, using any of the principles and procedures provided by linguistics. The three definitions above clarify that error analysis is an activity to identify, classify and interpreted or describe the errors made by someone in speaking or in writing and it is carried out to obtain information on common difficulties faced by someone in speaking or in writing English sentences. Another thing, which should be noticed is the procedure of error analysis.

 

 

Causes of Error

Norrish (1983:21-26) classifies causes of error into three types that is carelessness, first language interference, and translation. The three types of causes of error will be discussed briefly below.

 

 

1) Carelessness

Carelessness is often closely related to lack of motivation. Many teachers will admit that it is not always the student’s fault if he loses interest, perhaps the materials and/or style of presentation do not suit him.

 

2) First language

Norrish states that learning a language (a mother tongue or a foreign language) is a matter of habit formation. When someone tries to learn new habits the old ones will interfere the new ones. This causes of error is called first language interference”.

 

3) Translation

Translation is one of the causes of error. This happens because a student translates his first language sentence or idiomatic expression in to the target language word by word. This is probably the most common cause of error.

 

Another expert who discusses the sources of error is Richards in Schummann and Stenson (1978 : 32) in his article “Error Analysis and Second language Strategies” . He classifies sources of errors into (1) interference that is an error resulting from the transfer of grammatical and/or stylistic elements from the source language to the target language; (2) overgeneralization, that is an error caused by extension of target language rules to areas where they do not apply; (3) performance error, that is unsystematic error that occurs as the result of such thing as memory lapses, fatigue, confusion, or strong emotion; (4) markers of transitional competence, that is an error that results from a natural and perhaps inevitable development sequence in the second language learning process (by analogy with first language acquisition); (5) strategy of communication and assimilation that is an error resulting from the attempt to communicate in the target language without having completely acquired the grammatical form necessary to do so; and (6) teacher-induced error, that is an error resulting from pedagogical procedures contained in the text or employed by the teacher.

 

In another article “A Non-Contrastive Approach to Error Analysis”, Richards (1971:19-22) classifies causes of error into 1) overgeneralization, 2) incomplete application of rules, 3) false concepts hypothesized, and 4) ignorance of rule restriction. To make it clear, the four classifications above are explained briefly below.

 

1) Overgeneralization

Overgeneralization generally involves the creation of one deviant structure in place of two regular structures, for examples, “He can sings ”, “We are hope ”, “it is occurs ”.

 

2) Incomplete Application of rules

An example of incomplete application of rules can be seen in the question forms. Very often they are used, not to find out something, as they should, but as a means of eliciting questions through a transform exercise.

The use of question may also be unrelated to the skills it is meant to establish.

 

Teacher’s questions                  Student’s responses

Ask her how long it takes       How long it takes ?

How much does it cost ?         It cost five dollar

What does he have to do ?      He have to do write the address

 

 

3) False concepts hypothesized

False concepts hypothesized are something due to poor gradation of teaching items. The form ‘was ’ for example, may be interpreted as the marker of the past tense, as in *“one day it was happened ”.

 

4) Ignorance of rule restriction

Closely related to the generalization of deviant structures is failure to observe the restriction of existing structures, that is, the application of rules to context where they do not apply. They man who I saw him violates the limitation on subjects in structure with who. This is again a type of generalization of transfer, since the learners is making use of previously acquired rule in a new situation.

 

Analyzing Grammatical Errors

Below are some examples of the grammatical errors found in the sentences and the ways to analyze them.

 

1) Errors in using adjective

“Successful of the implementation’ in the sentences ‘the purpose of this research was to ascertain and evaluate the successful of the implementation of housing renovation of integrated villages …”

contain errors in using adjective. The use of adjective ‘successful’ in this sentence is wrong because it is the head of the phrase. That way “successful’ must be changed with the noun ‘success’. Thus, this sentences should be written :

“The purpose of this research was to ascertain and evaluate the success of the

implementation of housing renovation of integrated villages ….”

 

The cause of the error above can be classified as ‘overgeneralization’.

 

2) Errors in presenting subject and incorrect agreement

“Furthermore, to ascertain the strategic variables which was determining the

influence of “ABRI Masuk Desa” on the community participation in the regional

development’.

contains two types of the grammatical errors, i.e. error in presenting subject and incorrect agreement. Thus, it will be meaningful if we put a subject, for examples. ‘another objective of this research’. And then the word ‘variables’ in the noun phrase ‘strategic variables’ does not agree with the auxiliary verb ‘was’ because it is plural. That is why ‘was’ must be changed with ‘were’. So, the sentences above will be correct if we write:

“Furthermore, another objective of this research was to ascertain the strategic variables which were determining the influence of ABRI Masuk Desa on the community participation in the regional development’.

The cause of the errors in presenting subject can be classified as ‘interference’ because this sentence is the translation of the sentence in Bahasa Indonesia.

“Selanjutnya untuk mengetahui variabel-variabel strategi yang menentukan pengaruh “ABRI Masuk Desa” terhadap partisipasi masyarakat dalam pembangunan daerah”.

 

While the cause of the incorrect agreement in the sentence above can be classified as “overgeneralization” that is the writer of this sentence overgeneralized the use of ‘was’.

 

3) Error is using question word ‘how far’

“To describe how far was the role’ in the sentence This research was conducted in Sedenreng Rappang Regency with objectives to know and to describe haw far was the role of Tudassipulung institution in connection with the leadership, program and societies participation factors for rural development could increase the farm product, income and societies ‘prosperity’.

 

contains error in using question word ‘haw far’. This is caused by the influence of the word “sejauhmana” in Bahasa Indonesia. In this sentence the question word “how far’ should not be used. Thus, his sentence should be written :

“This research was conducted in Sidenreng Rappang Regency with the objectives to know and to describe the role of Tudassipulug institution in connection with the leadership, program and societies’ participation factors in increasing the farm product, income and societies prosperity”.

 

This sentence can be actually be simplified as:

“the objectives of this research were to describe…….’. It is not necessary to say ‘this research was conducted in Sidenreng Rappang Regency’ because it is quite clear where this research took place.

 

The cause of the error above can be classified as ‘interference’ that is the writer of this sentence transferred stylistic elements from the source language to the target language.

 

4) Error in using preposition

*’with the aims at identifying’ in the sentence ‘this research was carried out in Banteng Regency with the aims at identifying (1) the kinds of ability possessed by…’

 

contains error in using preposition ‘at’. In this context ‘at’ must not be used because ‘aims’ here is not a verb but is a noun. So, this sentence should be written:

This research was carried out in Banteng Regency with the aims of identifying (1) the kinds of ability possessed by…

 

Or it could be simplified by saying only:

The aims of this research were to identify (1) ………..’

The cause of the error above can be classified as ‘overgeneralization’.

That is the writer of this sentence overgeneralized the use of verb ‘aim at’.

 

 

 

5) Error in using passive voice

*’It was happened’ in the sentence ‘it was happened because most of the farmers sold their cashew nut to the collectors in the village’.

 

contains an error that is incorrect use of passive voice because ‘happen’ is an intransitive verb. So, this sentence will be meaningful if it is written:

“It happened because most of the farmers sold their cashew nuts to the collectors in the village’.

The cause of the error above can be classified as ‘false concepts hypothesized’ that is the writer of this sentence probably interpreted ‘was’ as the marker of the past tense.

Thu, 12 Sep 2013 @09:05

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