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Are Most of the Errors Which Efl Learners Make Due to Interference from Their L1?

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Introduction

It is commonly assumed that where there are differences between L1 and L2, the learner's L1 will probably interfere with the L2 (negative language transfer), whereas, when L1 and L2 are similar, the L2 will assist the L2 learning (positive language transfer) (Ellis, 1994). Therefore, we tend to believe that most of the errors are account of negative transfer. This is partly true according to many empirical studies of errors which have showed that many errors are common to different linguistic backgrounds. The L1 is, therefore, one of various sources of errors, and there might be other reasons which should be considered (Krashen, 1988).

Approaches to Errors

Errors are made when learners of L2 produce incorrect language because they do not know the correct form, while mistakes are made when learners produce incorrect language although they know the correct form (macmillandictionary.com). Learners can correct their own mistakes, but by definition, they can not correct errors. Errors are considered to be partial acquisition of the target language. In fact, errors should be viewed as "the tip of the iceberg" of a dynamic process of foreign language acquisition (brj.asu.edu). Instead of treating the developmental stages in learners' language as errors, it may be better to view these errors as partial acquisition.

This point of view and many others concerning errors, however, neither overlook nor neglect the positive and negative influence of L1 on L2 and their consequences. There are some clear indications that children's L1 may temporarily interfere with L2 learning; L1 phonological and orthographic processes interfere with spelling L2 words with unfamiliar phonemes or graphemes; miscues in L2 reading can be attributed to native language syntactical knowledge; and word-order variation, complex noun phrases and other complex structural differences between languages can mislead the foreign language learner (cal.org).

Authors such as Mohan and Lo (1985) suggested that beside negative transfer explanations for errors in EFL, other possible explanations have to be examined; inadequate knowledge for expressing complex and abstract ideas; unfamiliarity with the

cultural components of a topic; and stronger focus on grammar and syntax level than on communication of meaning or ideas.

Yu (1998) also proposed that some metalinguistical factors may explain errors, such as the psychological perception of language distance between the linguistic features of the L1 and L2 (brj.asu.edu).

Corder (1967) believed that a new dimension could be added to the study of errors by psychological theories. He claimed that the L2 learning is different from the process of acquiring the mother tongue, but some of the learning strategies are the same. Corder distinguished between errors that are slips of the tongue/pen and "systematic errors which indicate the learner's knowledge of L2 to date and which he called "transional competence". The focus is on the learner's ability to hypothesis formation as he or she tries to master the target language (efl.gr).

Richards, J calls errors "intralingual and developmental" by claming that one of the causes to errors is the extension by analogy of patterns of L2 that the learner has already internalized (e.g. the plural ending in 'child' may be an extension by analogy with the regular 's' ending of the English plural which the

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