Identifying errors To identify errors we have to compare the sentences learners produce with what seem to be the normal or correct sentences in the target language which correspond with them.
For example, jean says: A man and a little boy was watching him. It is not difficult to see that the correct sentence should be: A man and a little boy were watching him.
Distinguishing errors and mistakes: Errors reflect gaps in a learners knowledge; they occur because the learner does not know what is correct. Mistakes reflect occasional lapses in performance; they occur because, in a particular instance, the learner is unable to perform what he or she knows.
There is an example of an apparent mistake in Jeans speech. Early in the narrative he says: The big of them contained a snake. Using the past tense of the verb contain correctly. However, in the final sentence he says: The basket contain a snake. Making what seems to be a past tense error.
Describing errors Classifying errors into grammatical categories We could gather all the errors relating to verbs and then identify the different kinds of verb errors in our samle For example : errors in the past tense
Trying to identify general ways in which the learners utterances differ from the reconstructed target-language utterances, including : Omission Leaving out an item that is required for an utterance to be consider grammatical Misinformation Using one grammatical form in place of another grammatical form Misordering Putting the words in an utterance in the wrong order
Explaining errors Omission For example : learners leave out the articles a and the and leave the –s off plural nouns Overgeneralization For example : the use of eated in place of ate Transfer errors Reflect learners attempts to make use of their L1 knowledge
Error evaluation Global errors : violate the the overall structure of a sentence and for this reason may make it difficult process Local errors : affect only a single constituent in the sentence
DEVELOPMENTAL PATTERNS The early stages of L2 acquisitionThe order of acquisitionSequence of acquisitionSome implications
The early stages of L2 acquisition Silent period The learners make no attempt to say anything to begin with. Propositional simplification Learners find it difficult to speak in full sentences so they frequently leave words out. For example : Me no blue (I dont have a blue crayon)
The order of acquisition To investigate the order of acquisition, researchers choose a number of grammatical structures to study. Then, they collect samples of learner language and identify how accurately each feature is used by different language. They rank the features according to how accurately each feature is used by the learners.
Sequence of acquisition Stages in the acquisition of the past tense of eat StageDescriptionExample 1Learners fail to mark the verb for past time. eat 2Learners begin to produce irregular past tense forms. ate 3Learners overgeneralize the regular past tense form. eated 4Sometimes learners produce hybrid forms. ated 5Learners produce correct irregular past tense forms. ate
Some implications L2 acquisition is systematic and, to a large extent, universal, reflecting ways in which internal cognitive mechanisms control acquisition, irrespective of the personal background of learners or the setting in which they learn.
VARIABILITY IN LEARNER LANGUAGE Variability in learner language is systematic Learners use the linguistic sources in predictable ways The use of specific grammatical forms has been shown to vary according to the linguistic context, the situational context, and the psycholinguistic context Variability plays an integrative part in the overall pattern of development, with learners moving through a series of stages that reflect different kinds of variability.