Error Analysis of Present Simple and Present Continuous Tenses in the
              Interlanguage of Bulgarian Learners of...
First, they are important for the teacher because after a systematic analysis he can
determine the level of every learner ...
4. False concepts hypothesized
In addition to the above mentioned errors some originate from the incorrect or
incomplete u...
Wrong                                                       Correct
She always talk a lot.                              Sh...
What they are looking for?                     What are they looking for?
Where they live?                               W...
1. Corder S., 1967. The significance of learner’s errors, Cambridge 1967
2. Brouhton G. 1978. Teachin...
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Letanphuong Buoi1


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Letanphuong Buoi1

  1. 1. Error Analysis of Present Simple and Present Continuous Tenses in the Interlanguage of Bulgarian Learners of English Terlemezian Hilda Nishan PU ‘Paisiy Hilendarski’, Pedagogical Faculty One of the basic shifts of interest in Applied Linguistics in the last years is from the teacher as a main controller of the educational process towards the learner and his abilities to make hypotheses on his way towards that linguistic competence that can fully meet his communicative needs. Every person always speaks and communicates in a specific way in the different linguistic contexts which demonstrates an ability to use different grammatical elements. It is important to make the point that certain errors are a result of the method of instruction, or the unfavorable organization of the teaching materials, the textbooks or syllabuses. For example, in the older syllabuses the teaching material was distributed in a linear way – i.e., the whole information concerning a certain grammatical unit was taught thoroughly and completely and then the attention was centered onto a new grammatical unit. Quite contrary to this method now the Foreign Language Teaching ensures a systematic repetition of all the grammatical units that are to be taught in the course of education. In this respect the Present Continuous Tense is introduced consistently several times and different new aspects of its use are presented each time. It must be admitted that the learner himself is a potential source of errors. Even when maximum good conditions are ensured a perfect learning of the material is not possible. Therefore it can be concluded that errors are unavoidable. Hence the term ‘interlanguage’ was introduced to describe the permanent presence of irregular elements in the otherwise regular language. Two contrary opinions exist – whether errors are something positive or negative in the process of education. First they were considered as an indicator of an ineffective educational process. [1]. Later the mentalist opinion appeared that errors are a necessary and inevitable part of the educational process and even an indicator for the acquisition of the foreign language [2]. Because errors that are made by learners on their way from elementary to advanced levels illustrate the achievements in the educational process. Despite all this errors are definitely a deviation from the language norm. Therefore they should be avoided and corrected. They have to be planned throughout the whole course of education. Another fact must also be mentioned – errors are made for two more very essential reasons – because of the interference of the first language and because of the poor acquisition of the second. Some unsystematic errors appear as well with a psychological, psycholinguistic or some other kind of origin. [3] Since errors are inseparable part of the process of second language acquisition the teacher’s strategy for the successful overcoming of errors should combine the best parts of the two contrary opinions [4]. The importance of errors can be observed in three directions.
  2. 2. First, they are important for the teacher because after a systematic analysis he can determine the level of every learner and the knowledge that is still to be taught. Secondly, errors provide information about the way a language is learnt and acquired, what strategies and procedures the learner undertakes so as to discover the new language. Thirdly, they are important for the learner himself because through errors the learner can make hypothesis about the nature of the language he learns. Those errors that are a result of the interference of the first language or the so- called ‘interlingual interference’ can be qualified as interlingual. But there are many more errors that are not connected with the first language and are similar for all the learners irrespective of their first language. Errors of this kind have acquired the name intralingual – reflecting the specifics of the process of language acquisition, the order of this process and therefore they are often called “developmental errors”. So errors are a strategy employed both by the children acquiring their first language and by the second language learners as well. The errors of the interlingual interference are described in detail in many publications. The classifications offered are a product of the linguistic analysis, the kinds of speech, etc. The description of these errors enables the recognition of the different strategies used by second language learners for reducing the burden of acquisition. Jack Richards [5] classifies the errors as follows: 1. Overgeneralisation According to Jakobovits what can be classified as an overgeneralization is “the use of previously available strategies in new situations. In second language learning… some of these strategies will prove helpful in organizing the facts about the second language, but others, perhaps due to superficial similarities, will be misleading and inapplicable.’[6] Overgeneralisation can be a result of a incorrectly constructed structures in the target language (as: she can swims); or it can be a result of the learner’s desire to simplify his language task (the –ed marker for past tense may seem an excessive burden because pastness is already expressed lexically). Sometimes due to overlearning a structure and when the exercises are made of utterances that can interfere with each other hybrid structures can appear as: She is runs quickly. 2. Ignorance of rule restrictions Both the overgeneralization and the ignorance of rule restrictions are very similar because they both ignore the limitations of the existing structures and apply these structures in contexts where this is impossible. Some of these errors can be accounted for in terms of analogy (for example: ask him to do it produces: make him to do it) or in terms of rote learning of rules. 3. Incomplete application of rules These errors reflect the degree of rule acquisition and the ability correct utterances to be produced. In this respect the production of negative and interrogative sentences reflects most successfully the difficulties in this direction. Usually either an auxiliary verb is omitted or inversion is forgotten. If the L2 learner is interested only in the successful communication , his language development can cease and fossilization occur.
  3. 3. 4. False concepts hypothesized In addition to the above mentioned errors some originate from the incorrect or incomplete understanding of rules. Such mistakes can be a result from a poor rule presentation, based on a contrastive analysis between the Bulgarian and the English language or contrasts within the English language itself. But the constant comparing of relating areas of the languages can prove less effective that some other approach. Usually practice and common sense teach us that minimizing the problematic areas and opportunities for confusion is always safer. Appendix - Tables 1 – 4 Typical Intralingual and Developmental Errors Table 1 – Errors in the Production of Verb Groups 1. be + infinitive for infinitive Wrong Correct We are live in this house We live in this house. He is speaks German He speaks German. We are walk to school every day. We walk to school every day. 2. Wrong form after ‘do’ Wrong Correct The boy does not likes ice-cream. The boy does not like ice-cream Mary does not has a bicycle. Mary does not have a bicycle. 3. Wrong form after modal verb Wrong Correct She cannot to come She cannot come. We can to draw. We can draw. I can cooking very well. I can cook very well. 4. be omitted before verb+ing) Wrong Correct She running very fast. She is running very fast. Ann going to the cinema with me. Ann is going to the cinema with me. 5. infinitive for infinitive+s
  4. 4. Wrong Correct She always talk a lot. She always talks a lot. She come from Spain. She comes from Spain. Table 2 - Errors in the distribution of verb groups 1. be + verb + ing for infinitive Wrong Correct She is coming from Spain. She comes from Spain. I am getting up at 7 every morning. I get up at 7 every morning. 2. be + not + verb +ing for do + not + infinitive Wrong Correct She isn’t working for IBM. She doesn’t work for IBM. Small babies are not walking Small babies don’t walk. Table 3 – Miscellaneous Errors 1. Wrong verb form in adverb clause of time Wrong Correct I will come before he will leave I will come before he leaves. We will be here until you will phone us. We will be here until you phone us. 2. Errors in tense sequence Wrong Correct He said that there is a ball in the water. He said that there was a ball in the water. Table 4 – Errors in the Use of Questions 1. Omission of inversion. Wrong Correct Why this cup is empty? Why is this cup empty?
  5. 5. What they are looking for? What are they looking for? Where they live? Where do they live? 2 be omitted before infinitive + ing Wrong Correct When the children coming? When are the children coming? What you doing? What are you doing? 3. Omission of do Wrong Correct How much it costs? How much does it cost? What you prefer? What do you prefer? 4. Wrong form of auxiliary, or wrong form after auxiliary. Wrong Correct Where do he live? Where does he live? Do he like my new car? Does he like my new car? 5. Inversion rеtained in embedded sentences Wrong Correct Tell me what is his name Tell me what his name is. I don’t know where does he live. I don’t know where he lives. The analysis of these main types of errors of the interlanguage and development helps us to revise the teaching materials and understand what hides behind the learner’s language hypothesis. A lot of the contemporary teaching practices are centered upon the belief that the learner will memorize everything with his photographic memory and if he or she fails it is no fault of the teacher or the course book. But the teaching techniques and procedures must be in accordance with the structural and developmental conflicts that are characteristic of the learning process.
  6. 6. Bibliography: 1. Corder S., 1967. The significance of learner’s errors, Cambridge 1967 2. Brouhton G. 1978. Teaching English as a foreign language, Routledge and KeganPaul, London 1978 3. Бенатова П. 1981. Контрастивен анализ на предлозите FOR и ЗА и приложението му в обучението по английски език. СДК 4. . Савова Л. 1991. Помагало за семинарни упражнения по методика на английския език и педагогическа практика, Св. Климент Охридски, София 5. Richards J. C.,1984. Error Analysis, Longman, London and New York, p. 172-188 6. Jacobovitz, Leon A. ‘A Pchycholinguistic analysis of Second-Language Learning and Billingualism’, Illinois, 1969, p.55