Errors Analysis


Identify and Diagnose Errors for A typical Pakistani Students

  • Definition: Study of the errors produced by speakers of a second language. Speakers go through different stages in the acquisition process and this is manifested in the mistakes they make.
  • It was developed during the 60s of the 20th century and emerged as an alternative to contrastive analysis and behaviorism. Error analysis argues that not all deviant forms are due to the influence of the mother tongue, as maintained by contrastive analysis. Speakers go through different stages in the acquisition process and this is manifested in the mistakes they make.

Errors Analysis

  • The acquisition of English as a second or foreign language is a very complicated affair. The word acquisition covers many highly sophisticated mental and correlative physical activities.
  • It is very difficult for the learner to accomplish this uphill task unless motivation, interest and involvement are stronger than the difficulties encountered.

Errors Analysis

  • Now we shall consider some of the major areas of error formation in Pakistani English. The sources of the errors are to be found mainly in first-language interference and partly in the inherent difficulties of English grammar. The first sets of mistakes are described as inter-lingual, the second as intra-lingual.
  • Inter-Lingual Errors:
  • Inter-lingual errors crop up when the first language acts upon the second, imposing its own structures and modes of expressions upon it, a rough estimate shows that sixty seventy per cent of the errors observed in Pakistani English are the result of first-language in interference.

Errors Analysis

  • Bad teaching, the encouragement of grammatical rule-learning by heart, the request use of translation-method—all these factors contribute a lot to formation and fortification of Urdu patterns. Types of inter-language errors observed widely in our country are:

i) Omission of articles: Our students make glaring mistakes in the use of articles. There are no articles in the oriental languages; there are no precisely accurate rules for their usage in English. Consequently our students miserably fail in tackling articles, as; an Urdu sentence would be translated in his manner:                                                                            

بوڑھا آدمی آہستہ آہستہ چل رہا تھا

  • Old man was walking slowly. (Incorrect) The correct sentence is: The old man was walking slowly. Similarly, our students use articles where they are not required, as; Fared died of the cholera. (Incorrect) The correct sentence is: Fared died of cholera.

ii) Wrong use of prepositions: There are no hard and fast rules for the use of prepositions. This situation creates lot of trouble for the students, as;

  1. The cat sat at the table in dining room.
  2. My father is about to reach here in your village today
  3. He is in his way.

iii) Wrong use of tenses: Most of our students do not fare well in the use of tenses, especially perfect tenses. They tend to say:

            i)    She is ill since Monday.

            ii)  I had seen him yesterday.

  • Instead of

            i)       She has been ill since Monday.

           ii)  I saw him yesterday.

  • Inter- Lingual Errors:
  • The irregularities and ambiguities of English Grammar also create difficulties for students. The English language has no one pattern for the production of tense variations, plurals, questions and son on.

Errors Analysis

  • Its past participles are arbitrary: sometimes they look like the regular past tense forms. All these features often land a student in serious problems:
  • Some of the intra-lingual errors are as follows;

        i)        Disagreement of tenses:  There is an intolerable disagreement of tenses in main and subordinate clauses, as;

  •  My friend told me that he will help me in the hour of need.

        ii)      Omission of ‘to be’ in passive construction: as;

  • We usually come across sentences like; He born in 2010.

        iii)   Omission of ‘S’ in the Present Tense (Third person singular)

  • The English language has dropped most of its inflections, but has retained them with ‘He’, ‘She’, ‘It’, in the present tense. It proves a pitfall for our studies, as;
  • Salma go to school every day.
  • Rabat works day and night to get through the examination.

      iv)      Deviant use of ‘Become’: Sometimes we encounter constructions like;

  • Nassir became angry with his brother.

        v)        Confusion in the use of animate and inanimate Relative pronouns: ‘Who’, ‘Whom’, and ‘Whose’ are often confused with ‘that’ or ‘which’. We see constructions like:

  • This is the boy which met me yesterday.

        vi)         Confusion in the use of Possessive Pronouns:  Most of our students are not well versed in the use of possessive pronouns. A typical Pakistani construction is:

  •  One must be loyal to his country.
  • She bought a new shirt for his husband.

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