ERIC Number: ED388093
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Apr
Inconsistencies in Error Production by Non-Native English Speakers and in Error Gravity Judgment by Native Speakers.
Arani, Mhmoud T.
The purpose of this study was to: (1) describe differences in performance by non-native learners of English, when writing in different genres; (2) determine communicative value of grammatical errors as judged by a panel of native speakers; and (3) demonstrate inconsistencies in native speaker judgment of error gravity. Subjects were 20 English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) college students. Data were drawn from 40 expository and creative writing assignments. Three native speakers evaluated the effects of student errors on comprehension. Results indicate that the subjects committed more errors in expository than creative writing, and that variation in essay length did not correlate with error quantity. Frequency of error type differed significantly in the two modes. Mistakes with unclear antecedents impeded comprehension most, while pronouns impeded comprehension least; ten other grammatical error categories fell in between in gravity. Although the most recurrent errors and the most serious errors did not present the same hierarchical order, they did reflect the same error categories; there was no correlation between the degree of error gravity and error frequency. The native speakers often could not reach consensus on error gravity. Implications are seen in these results for communicative second language teaching, instructional material development, error and discourse analysis, and classroom treatment of errors. Contains 23 references. (Author/MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (27th, Atlanta, GA, April 13-17, 1993).