sources of ErrorInterference Language transfer (also known as L1 interference, linguistic interference, andcrossmeaning) refers to speakers or writers applying knowledge from their native language to asecond language. It is most commonly discussed in the context of English language learning andteaching, but it can occur in any situation when someone does not have a native-level commandof a language, as when translating into a second language.Positive and negative transferWhen the relevant unit or structure of both languages is the same, linguistic interference canresult in correct language production called positive transfer — "correct" meaning in line withmost native speakers notions of acceptability. An example is the use of cognates. Note, however,that language interference is most often discussed as a source of errors known as negativetransfer. Negative transfer occurs when speakers and writers transfer items and structures thatare not the same in both languages. Within the theory of contrastive analysis (the systematicstudy of a pair of languages with a view to identifying their structural differences andsimilarities), the greater the differences between the two languages, the more negative transfercan be expected.The results of positive transfer go largely unnoticed, and thus are less often discussed.Nonetheless, such results can have a large effect. Generally speaking, the more similar the twolanguages are, and the more the learner is aware of the relation between them, the more positivetransfer will occur. For example, an Anglophone learner of German may correctly guess an itemof German vocabulary from its English counterpart, but word order and collocation are morelikely to differ, as will connotations. Such an approach has the disadvantage of making thelearner more subject to the influence of "false friends".
Proactive interference and negative transfer in psychologyDuring the 1950‟s, memory research began investigating interference theory. This refers to theidea that forgetting occurs because the recall of certain items interferes with the recall of otheritems. Throughout the 1950s, researchers provided some of the earliest evidence that the priorexistence of old memories makes it harder to recall newer memories and he dubbed this effect,proactive interference. During the same time, researchers, began investigating negativetransfer. Negative transfer concerns itself with a detrimental effect of prior experience on thelearning of a new task, whereas proactive interference relates to a negative effect of priorinterference on the recall of a second task.The most obvious and used proactive interference and negative transfer paradigm from the 1950sand 1960s was the use of AB-AC, or AB-DE lists. Participants would be asked to learn a list ofpaired associates in which each pair consists of a three letter consonant vowel consonant,nonsense syllable (e.g. DYL), used because it was easy to learn and lacked pre-learned cognitiveassociations, and a common word (e.g. road). In this paradigm two lists of paired associations arelearned. The first list, (commonly known as the AB list) would consist of nonsense syllables as aprimer (which constituted the „A‟ term), followed by a word (which constituted the „B‟ term).The second list would consist of either the same nonsense syllable primer and a different word(A-C list) or a different nonsense syllable primer and a different word (D-E list). The AB-AC listwas used because its second set of associations (A-C) constitutes a modification of the first set ofassociations (A-B), whereas the AB-DE list were used as a control.Shortly afterwards proactive interference was demonstrated with the Brown-Petersonparadigm. A single Brown-Peterson trial consists of a study list, a retention interval and then arecall period. Each list may consist of a handful of related items and are presented individuallyevery few seconds. For the duration of a short retention interval, subjects are then asked toperform an engaging distractor task such as counting backwards in sevens, or thinking of ananimal with every letter in the alphabet to minimize rehearsal. Subjects are then asked torecall the items from this second list. Although the lists from previous trials are now irrelevant,the fact that they were studied at all makes it difficult for subjects to recall the most recent list.Negative transfer was examined by researchers in the 60s and found differential learningbetween trials. Specifically, differences in the learning rates of list 2 provided clear evidence ofthe negative transfer phenomenon. Subjects learned an A-C paired association list to a criterionof all associations correct, following learning a list of A-B paired associations to criterion.Ultimately, it was found that those subjects took an increased amount of trials to complete thelearning task compared to subjects who didn‟t learn the A-B list or from subjects who had tolearn a D-E list.Conscious and unconscious transferTransfer may be conscious or unconscious. Consciously, learners or unskilled translators maysometimes guess when producing speech or text in a second language because they have notlearned or have forgotten its proper usage. Unconsciously, they may not realize that thestructures and internal rules of the languages in question are different. Such users could also be
aware of both the structures and internal rules, yet be insufficiently skilled to put them intopractice, and consequently often fall back on their first language.Language transfer in comprehensionTransfer can also occur in polyglot individuals when comprehending verbal utterances or writtenlanguage. For instance, German and English both have relative clauses with a noun-noun-verb(=NNV) order but which are interpreted differently in both languages:German example: Das Mädchen, das die Frau küsst, ist blondWord by word this German relative clause translates toEnglish example: The girl that the woman is kissing is blonde.The German and the English examples differ in that in German the subject role can be taken bydas Mädchen (the girl) or die Frau (the woman) while in the English example only the secondnoun phrase (the woman) can be the subject. In short: The German example is syntacticallyambiguous because it can be the girl or the woman who does the kissing. In the English exampleit can only be the woman who does the kissing.The ambiguity of the German NNV relative clause structure becomes obvious in cases where theassignment of subject and object role is disambiguated. This can be because of case marking ifone of the nouns is grammatically male as in Der Mann, den die Frau küsst… (The man that thewoman is kissing…) vs. Der Mann, der die Frau küsst (The man that is kissing the woman)because in German the male definite article marks the accusative case. The syntactic ambiguityof the German example also becomes obvious in the case of semantic disambiguation. Forinstance in Das Eis, das die Frau isst… and Die Frau, die das Eis isst… (both: The woman thatis eating the ice cream) only das Eis (ice cream) is a plausible object.Because in English relative clauses with a noun-noun-verb structure (as in the example above)the first noun can only be the object, native speakers of English who speak German as a secondlanguage are more likely to interpret ambiguous German NNV relative clauses as object relativeclauses (= object-subject-verb order) than German native speakers who prefer an interpretation inwhich the first noun phrase is the subject (subject-object-verb order).
InterlanguageAn interlanguage is an emerging linguistic system that has been developed by a learner of asecond language (or L2) who has not become fully proficient yet but is approximating the targetlanguage: preserving some features of their first language (or L1), or overgeneralizing targetlanguage rules in speaking or writing the target language and creating innovations. Aninterlanguage is idiosyncratically based on the learners experiences with the L2. It can fossilize,or cease developing, in any of its developmental stages. The interlanguage rules are claimed tobe shaped by several factors, including: L1 transfer, transfer of training, strategies of L2 learning(e.g. simplification), strategies of L2 communication (or communication strategies likecircumlocution), and overgeneralization of the target language patterns.Interlanguage is based on the theory that there is a "psychological structure latent in the brain"which is activated when one attempts to learn a second language. Interlanguage theory is usuallycredited to Larry Selinker but others such as Uriel Weinreich have claimed to have formulatedthe basic concept before Selinkers 1972 paper. Selinker noted that in a given situation theutterances produced by the learner are different from those native speakers would produce hadthey attempted to convey the same meaning. This comparison reveals a separate linguisticsystem. This system can be observed when studying the utterances of the learner who attempts toproduce meaning in using the target language; it is not seen when that same learner does form-focused tasks, such as oral drills in a classroom. Interlanguage can be observed to be variableacross different contexts; for example, it may be more accurate, complex and fluent in onediscourse domain than in another (Tarone, 1979; Selinker & Douglas, 1985).To study the psychological processes involved one should compare the interlanguage utterancesof the learner with two things: 1. Utterances in the native language to convey the same message produced by the learner 2. Utterances in the target language to convey the same message, produced by a native speaker of that language.Interlanguage work is a vibrant microcosm of linguistics. It is possible to apply an interlanguageperspective to learners underlying knowledge of the target language sound system(interlanguage phonology), grammar (morphology and syntax), vocabulary (lexicon), andlanguage-use norms found among learners (interlanguage pragmatics).By describing the ways in which learner language conforms to universal linguistic norms,interlanguage research has contributed greatly to our understanding of linguistic universals inSLA. See below, under "linguistic universals".
Definition and relation to other types of languageThe concept of interlanguage is closely related to other types of language, especially pidgins andcreoles. Each of these languages has its own grammar and phonology. The difference is mostlyone of variability, as a learners interlanguage changes frequently as they become more proficientin the language. In addition, pidgins and creoles have many speakers and are developed as agroup process. An interlanguage, on the other hand, is something that has only one speaker, thelearner.At the very beginning of language learning, the learner has some idea of what the foreignlanguage is like, and how it works. According to these ideas, they produce utterances, some ofwhich may be correct, and others which may be wrong. Then, as the learner gains moreknowledge about the language, they may come up with new and better ideas of how it works.Thats what interlanguage is: the developing "idea of how the other language works".VariabilityThough the interlanguage perspective views learner language as a language in its own right, thislanguage systematically varies much more than native-speaker language. A learner may producea target-like variant (e.g. I dont) in one context and a non-target like variant (e.g. me no) inanother. Scholars from different traditions have taken opposing views on the importance of thisphenomenon. Those who bring a Chomskyan perspective to SLA typically regard variability asnothing more than "performance errors", and not worthy of systematic inquiry. On the otherhand, those who approach it from a sociolinguistic or psycholinguistic orientation viewvariability as an inherent feature of the learners interlanguage, where the learners preference forone linguistic variant over another depends on accompanying a) social (contextual) variablessuch as the status or role of the interlocutor (see Selinker & Douglas, 1985), or b) linguisticvariables such as the phonological environment or neighboring features marked for formality orinformality. Naturally, most research on variability has been done by those who presume it to bemeaningful (Fasold & Preston, 2007; Tarone, 2009; Tarone & Liu, 1995).Research on variability in learner language distinguishes between "free variation", which has notbeen shown to be systematically related to accompanying linguistic or social features, and"systematic variation", which has. Of course, the line between the two is subject to debate.Free variation in the use of a language feature is usually taken as a sign that it has not been fullyacquired. The learner is still trying to figure out what rules govern the use of alternate forms.This type of variability seems to be most common among beginning learners, and may beentirely absent among the more advanced.Systematic variation is brought about by changes in the linguistic, psychological, social context.Linguistic factors are usually extremely local. For instance, the pronunciation of a difficultphoneme may depend on whether it is to be found at the beginning or end of a syllable.Social factors may include a change in register or the familiarity of interlocutors. In accordancewith Communication Accommodation Theory, learners may adapt their speech to either
converge with, or diverge from, their interlocutors usage. For example, they may deliberatelychoose to address a non-target form like "me no" to an English teacher in order to assert identitywith a non-mainstream ethnic group (Rampton 1995).The most important psychological factor is usually taken to be attention to form, which is relatedto planning time. The more time that learners have to plan, the more target-like their productionmay be. Thus, literate learners may produce much more target-like forms in a writing task forwhich they have 30 minutes to plan, than in conversation where they must produce languagewith almost no planning at all. The impact of alphabetic literacy level on an L2 learners abilityto pay attention to form is as yet unclear (see Tarone, Bigelow & Hansen, 2009).Affective factors also play an important role in systematic variation. For example, learners in astressful situation (such as a formal exam) may produce fewer target-like forms than they wouldin a comfortable setting. This clearly interacts with social factors, and attitudes toward theinterlocutor and topic also play important roles.When learners experience significant restructuring in their L2 systems, they sometimes showwhat has been termed U-shaped behavior. For instance, Lightbown (1983) showed that a groupof English language learners moved, over time, from accurate usage of the “-ing” presentprogressive morpheme, to incorrectly omitting it, and finally, back to correct usage. This isexplained by theorizing that learners first acquired the “-ing” form as a chunk, second, lostcontrol of this form as their knowledge system was disrupted by expanding understandings of thetense and aspect systems of English, and third, returned to correct usage upon gaining greatercontrol of these linguistic characteristics and forms. These data provide evidence that learnerswere initially producing output based on rote memory of individual words containing the presentprogressive morpheme. However, in the second stage their systems apparently contained the rulethat they should use the bare infinitive form to express present action, without a separate rule forthe use of “-ing.” Finally, their systems did contain such a rule.Developmental patternsEllis (1994)[vague] distinguished between "order" to refer to the pattern in which differentlanguage features are acquired and "sequence" to denote the pattern by which a specific languagefeature is acquired
Communication StrategiesA communication strategy is defined as "a systematic technique employed by a speaker to express hismeaning when faced with some difficulty" because of his "inadequate command of the language used inthe interaction". (Corder, 1981 : 103) Some familiar communication strategies employed by languagelearners are avoidance, prefabricated patterns, appeal to authority, approximation, word coinage,circumlocution and language switch. Let us look at each of these briefly. Avoidance Learners tend to shun lexical items whose meanings they are not sure of, sounds they have difficulty inproducing, and grammatical items they are not familiar with. Their avoidance leads to replacement oferroneous items. A learner who did not know the expression I lost my way, said I lost my road instead.(Brown, 1987 : 84) This is an instance of lexical avoidance. Prefabricated patterns Set phrases and stock sentences for different occasions may sometimes be used inopportunely bylearners. An example is *I dont understand how can you do that, formed from two separate sentences "Idont understand", and "How can you do that?" The two sentences have been juxtaposed without deleting"can". Cognitive and personality style One own personality style aor style of thinking can be a sources of error .highlighrting theidio A.reflective and conservative style might result in very Carefur bur hesitant production ofspeech with perhaps fewer errors but errors indicative of the conscious application of rules.such a person might also commit errors of over formality A person with high self esteem may be willing to risk more errors ,in the interest ofcomucation . because he does not feel as threatened by committing error with a person withlow self esteem Appeal to authority This strategy is aimed at referring to an authoritative source - the native speaker, teacher, or dictionary.The third source may not always be effective. A BM-English bilingual dictionary which has the meaning ofpinjam as both "to lend", and "to borrow" is a possible contributor of error. In BM pinjam corresponds tothe antonyms in English. Thus, if a student were to say *"Can you borrow me ten dollars?", it is adeviation from standard English. Approximation In this strategy, the learner employs a lexical item which is not specific enough, but shares certaincommon semantic features, for example "knife" for "breadknife", "stick" for "truncheon", and "The visitingminister met the king" for "The visiting minister had an audience with the king". Word coinage A learner creates a new word or phrase which is usually non-existent to convey the intended meaning.For example, a learner who is not aware of the vocabulary items "bucket" and "kettle" may come up with*"water-holder" and *"water-boiler" respectively.
Circumlocution The learner who is not familiar with the appropriate lexical item, goes on to describe the characteristicof the target object or action. For example, a learner who does not know the word "clothes line" may say"the thing to hang clothes on". Similarly if one cannot recall the word "optician", one might say "the personwho tests our eyes". Although the circumlocution strategy may not lead to errors, it shows the learnersinadequate lexical competence. Language switch This is the strategy of weak learners. They simply fall back on their first language without attemptinganything in the target language, for example: Every Sunday and Wednesday, the "Post Bergerak" willcome to my village. The equivalent of the mobile post office in BM is pos bergerak. Thus far I have identified the major contributory factors to students errors in their written English and Ihave also included spoken English where appropriate.
Caouses of ErrorCarelessnessCarelessnes is often closely relatecd to lack of motivation many teacher will admit that its notalways the student fault if he loses interest.Perhaps the matrial and or style of presentation donot him .Firs languageNorish states that learning a language ( a mother tonguageTranslationOvergeneralizationRichards cites overgeneralization as one of the contributory factors. He explains thus: "Overgeneralization covers instances where the learner creates a deviant structure on the basis of hisexperience of other structures in the target language." (Richards, 1974: 174)After having read or heard sentences such as He reached the house at 10.00 p.m. a student mayproduce He leaved the house at 6.00 a.m.A learner may write She walked fastly to catch the bus because he already knows He walked quickly tocatch the train.One who has read often about drug trafficking may think that there is *drug addicting.Overgeneralization is also applied in the pronunciation of certain words on the basis of what they alreadyknow, eg. words like Beauchamp and Arkansas.IndeterminacyThis is the term used by Jain to refer to an inconsistency or uncertainty in handling a linguistic item. Hecalls errors arising from such a situation asystematic errors (Jain, 1974). Below is an example given byhim to show asystematic errors with respect to article use: I started from hostel to go to see a movie. When we were still waiting at bust stop ........I could only getsome space to keep my one leg on foot-board ........I had to request conductor ........At last bus moved.The bus stopped at a bus stop with a jerk. All the time I was trying to balance myself on the footboard. Iwas more worried about movie. (Jain, 1974: 213)The underlined words show that the articles have been used asystematically.
Medium TransferThis is the term used by Tench (1983) for the learners undue reliance on either the spoken or the writtenform of a word when the other medium is being used. If a pupil pronounces a word according to itsspelling, then medium transfer has taken place. If a student spells a word according to its pronunciation,that too is medium transfer, e.g. *teribel, *prestigous, and *surpReferences Brown, H.D. 1987. Principles of Language Learning and Teaching. Englewood Cliffs. N.J. PrenticeHall. Burt, M, Dulay, H. and Krashen, S. 1982. Language Two. New York. Oxford University Press. Corder, S.P. 1974. Error Analysis in Allen, J.L.P. and Corder, S.P. (eds) Techniques in AppliedLinguistics. Oxford. Oxford University Press. Corder, S.P. 1981. Error Analysis and Interlanguage. Oxford. Oxford University Press. Hornby, A.S. 1974. Oxford Advanced Dictionary of Current English. Oxford. Oxford University Press. Jain, M.P. 1974. Error Analysis : Source, Cause and Significance in Richards, J.C. (ed) Error Analysis.London. Longman. Mohideen, H. 1991. An Error Analysis in the Written English of Malay Students at Pre-University Levelwith Special Reference to Students at the Matriculation Centre, International Islamic University, Malaysia.Unpublished Ph.D Thesis. University of Wales. Mohideen, H. 1993. Towards Effective Error Correction of Written Grammatical Errors. H. Gaudart andM.K. David, (eds). Towards More Effective Learning and Teaching of English. Petaling Jaya. MalaysianEnglish Language Teaching Association.