The Importance of Error Analysis

 The Importance of Error Analysis

Error Analysis is useful in second language learning because it reveals to us - teachers,  syllabus  designers  and  textbook  writers  of  what  the  problem  areas are.  We  could  design  remedial  exercises  and  focus  more  attention  on  the ‘trouble shooting’ areas, as it were.

Corder, (1967) states that errors are visible proof  that  learning  is  taking  place.  He  has  emphasised  that  errors,  if  studied systematically, can provide significant insights into how a language is actually learned  by  a  foreigner.  He  also  agrees  that  studying  students’  errors  of  usage has  immediate  practical  application  for  language  teachers.  In  his  view,  errors provide  feedback;  they  tell  the  teachers  something  about  the  effectiveness  of his  teaching. 

According  to  Ancker,  (2000),  making  mistakes  or  errors  is  a natural process of learning and must be considered as part of cognition. Weireesh,  (1991)  considers  learners’  errors  to  be  of  particular  importance because  the  making  of  errors  is  a  device  the  learners  use  in  order  to  learn. Weireesh, (ibid.) says EA  is a  valuable aid to  identify and explain difficulties faced  by  learners.  He  goes  on  to  say  that  EA  serves  as  a  reliable  feedback  to design a remedial teaching  method. This emphasises the  fact that problematic as the errors may be, when they are identified, learners get helped and teachers find it easy to do remedial work.

Sercombe,  (2000)  explains  that  EA  serves  three  purposes.  Firstly,  to  find  out the  level  of  language  proficiency  the  learner  has  reached.  Secondly,  to  obtain information  about  common  difficulties  in  language  learning,  and  thirdly,  to find out how people learn a language. From this statement it can be concluded that the study of errors should also be looked at as something positive both for learners and teachers.

Candling,  (2001)  considers  EA  as  ‘the  monitoring  and  analysis  of  learner’s language’.  He  refers  to  an  error  as  a  deviation.  Candling  (ibid.)  adds  that  the L2  learners’  errors  are  potentially  important  for  the  understanding  of  the processes of SLA.

Olasehinde,  (2002)  also  argues  that  it  is  inevitable  that  learners  make  errors. He  also  cited  that  errors  are  unavoidable  and  a  necessary  part  of  the  learning curve.


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