الثلاثاء، 26 مارس، 2013

Errors of English Language Committed by Sudanese Students at Secondary Schools in Khartoum Locality (2011-2012)


Open University of Sudan
Directorate of Postgraduate Studies
Education Programme











Errors of English Language Committed by Sudanese Students
at   Secondary   Schools  in  Khartoum   Locality   (2011-2012)




A Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment for the Requirements of  the Postgraduate Diploma in Education





Presented by: Muhammad El-Bashir Muhammad Ahmed
Supervised by: Dr. Omar Elsheikh Hago  



2013
Table of Contents

No.
Subject
Page
1
Dedication
i
2
Acknowledgements
ii
3
Abstract: English version
iii
4
Abstract: Arabic version
iv
5
Chapter One: Introduction

6
1.0 Background
1
7
1.1 Statement of the Study
2
8
1.2Objectives of the Study
2
9
1. 3 Significance of the Study
2
10
1.4 Hypotheses of the Study
3
11
1.5 Limits of the Study
3
12
1.6 The Study Outlines
3
13
1.7 Terms Definition
4
14
Chapter Two: Theoretical Background and Literature Review

15
2.0 Introduction
5
16
2.1 Historical Background of English Language Teaching in the Sudan
6
17
2.2 Reasons for Learning English as a Foreign Language
7
18
2.3 The Development of  Writing
9
19
2.4 Teaching Second-Language Writing
9
20
2.5 A Comparison between Speech and Writing
12
21
2.6 Types of  Errors
13
22
2.7 Errors Analysis
19
23
2.8 Error Correction
21
24
Chapter Three: Methodology of the Study

25
3.1 The Study Population
26
26
3.2 The Sample of the Study
26
27
3.3 Method of  Data Collection
27
28
3.4 The Statistical Treatment
28
29
Chapter Four: Data Analysis


30
4.0 Introduction 
29
31
4.1 Spelling Errors
29
32
4.2 Morphological Errors 
33
33
4.3 Syntactic Errors
34
34
4.4 Semantic Errors
38
35
Chapter Five: Conclusions and Recommendations

36
5.1 Summary of the Study 
41
37
5.2 Recommendations 
42
38
5.3 Suggestions for Further Studies
43
39
References
45
40
Appendix
48

List of Tables
Table
Page
Table No.1: A Comparison between speech and writing
12
Table No.2:  Spelling Errors
29
Table No. 3: Morphological Errors
33
Table No. 4: Syntactic Errors
34
Table No. 5: Semantic Errors
38
Table No.6: Total Errors of Students
42

List of Figures
Figures
Page
Figure No.1: Spelling Errors
30
Figure No. 2: Morphological Errors
34
Figure No. 3: Syntactic Errors
35
Figure No. 4: Semantic Errors
39
Figure No.5: Total Errors of Students
42







Chapter One
1.0 Background
Traditionally, when students write in a second\foreign language, the purpose of the writing activity is to catch errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation…etc. Students get good marks if they write texts with as few errors as possible. The term “error” is used in this study to refer to the systematic deviation from a selected norm or a set of norms. The selected norms in this study are the standard British English. Errors analysis is the examination of those errors committed by the Sudanese secondary schools students in Khartoum Locality in the written medium. It provides a picture of the level of those students and it may give indication to the learning process as well.
Error analysis is useful in second\foreign language learning because it reveals to the linguists – teachers, syllabus designers and text book writers – the problematic areas and focus attention on the trouble points.
The researcher, from experience, noticed that there are common errors among students since they have a different mother tongue. The researcher investigated the errors committed by the subjects who were studying English as a compulsory subject at secondary schools.









1.1 Statement of the Study
As a teacher of English language at the Sudanese secondary schools where English language is taught as a compulsory subject, the researcher noticed that many of the errors in the writing performance are common among them. This phenomenon draws attention to the importance and need to describe and analyze such errors so as to infer their sources. These errors can be dealt with in the light of the following questions:
1.     What are the common errors committed by the subjects?
2.     What are the linguistic categories to which these errors belong?
3.     What are the possible explanations that can be given to the occurrence of these errors?
4.     How can these errors be treated?
1.2 Objectives of the Study
The main objective of this study is to identify and analyze the common errors of the subjects. It also aims at giving an account of the areas of these common errors in order to help teachers and learners overcome the difficulties that might face them while they are learning English language.
1.3 Significance of the Study
The study is intended to find out how far “SPINE” students of English benefit from the present series of English language at secondary schools. It is an attempt to state out how far this syllabus fulfils its goals for having students highly mastered English language while they are on the last stage before joining a university study where English language is badly required for a good field of study.
Thus, the present study might be beneficial to teachers and learners of English in the Sudanese secondary schools and in other Sudanese institutions concerned with the teaching of English language.
1.4 Hypotheses of the Study
1.     The common errors committed by the Sudanese secondary schools students of English language are due to difficulties in the target language itself rather than to any other cause.
2.     Many linguistic errors can easily be noticed in students writing production.
1.5 Limits of the Study
The study is confined mainly to the first and second year secondary schools students in Khartoum Locality in the school year (2011-2012) . It will be exploring the question of errors committed by these students in the regard to “Sudan Practical Integrated National English” (SPINE); the difficulties encountered by the students in their English writing production.
1.6 The Study Outlines
This thesis consists of five chapters. Chapter one introduces the general idea of the research. It shows the statement of the study, its objectives, significance, hypotheses and limits.
Chapter two handles the theoretical background and previous studies related to this research. It sheds light on the historical background of English language teaching in the Sudan from early periods up to the independence of the country showing how this language had been dealt with. It also gives reasons for learning English as a foreign language and how writing skill is being taught nowadays. The chapter finally gives a contrast between speech and writing.
Chapter three will be about the research methodology and procedures. It describes the study population, the sample of the study, method of data collection and the researcher’s statistical treatment.
Chapter four will look into the students’ errors. It classifies these errors into four linguistic types: spelling errors, syntactic errors, morphological errors and semantic errors trying to analyze these errors giving examples for each type.
Chapter five concludes the research. It also gives some recommendations and suggestions for further studies.
1.7 Terms Definition
Error, according to (www.thefreedictionary.com) 21, 3, 2013, is:
1. An act, assertion, or belief that unintentionally deviates from what is correct, right, or true.
2. The condition of having incorrect or false knowledge.
3. The act or an instance of deviating from an accepted code of behavior.















Chapter Two
Theoretical Background and Literature Review
2.0 Introduction
People are always in seeking of acquiring new languages rather than their own mother-tongue to communicate and express their ideas and needs. (Chomsky 1968-28) has said “what a person does depends in a large extent on what he knows, believes and anticipates.”
Therefore, mastering languages play an important role in people’s thinking, interactions and activities. Leonard Bloomfield said “One may say that today the nation which contains no large class of people who understand foreign languages dwells in pitiable seclusion”.
English as a foreign language is deeply needed in the Sudan. The focus of the investigation is the deficiency or errors being committed by secondary schools students in Khartoum. These students are paving a way to university studies where English language might play a great role.
Moreover, English has become widely spread as a language of international communication. People learn English to have contact with modern sciences and technologies. Learning English helps a person to have a closer look at the native speaker’s culture and penetrate the rich areas and experiences laying beyond that mother-tongue communication.







2.1 Historical Background of English Language Teaching in the Sudan
Since 1889 and during the Anglo-Egyptian rule in Sudan, there was no proper education except those schools which were established by the Christian missionaries in some parts of the country. The only type of education was religious education in (Khalwas) (M.O. Bashir 1968-p.11).
Although English language was the instrument of the government, the latter intended to provide the people with only vocational and technical education and discouraged proper education for fear of having educated people who could destroy its rule. For the same purpose, English learning was unpreferable.
Then the government found that it was necessary to have some people who knew English in order to help in the administration of the country, so British teachers were appointed to teach in some established intermediate schools, and in 1902 Gordon Memorial College was established.
In 1905, some schools in which English was used were established in Khartoum by American missionaries.
In southern Sudan, the Catholic Roman and British missionaries participated a lot in the spread of education and the use of English. Although most of the people there depended on their local dialects, it was necessary for those who wanted better jobs to learn English. So English began to be taught in special classes and then it became the instrument of teaching in most schools.
In 1918, educated people started to hold meetings and they founded a club (M.O. Bashir 1968-p.91). They also founded a Sudanese unity. This progress within Sudanese people created a great misunderstanding with the government and made it stand against education.
In 1924, the educated people, led by Ali Abdullatif, revoluted against the British rule. Since then Sudanese citizens started to struggle in order to get their independence and develop their country and as a result, new schools were opened for boys as well as for girls.
In 1944, Gordon Universal College came to existence and in 1947 its candidates were allowed to sit for Oxford Certificate. In 1956, the Sudan became an independent country and education spread everywhere and English language was taught for teaching in the schools.
Since then a new world for English teaching existed. Teachers of English used traditional ways of teaching and instead, new and modern techniques based on educational theories were applied for teaching English which became most widely spread as “language of international communication and modern technology (Harden 1978 p.25)”.
2.2 Reasons for Learning English as a Foreign Language
The purpose of the study, being to improve the students’ written English at Sudanese secondary schools, makes it necessary for learners to know the reasons for learning English as a foreign language in the country.
In this respect we can say that people who wish to learn English may have anyone to a great number of reasons for doing so. It will not of course be complete, but will at least show the great variety of both the needs and desires of students of English (Jeremy Harmer 1983 p.111).
2.2.1 Target language community
Students may find themselves living either temporarily or permanently in the target language community. The target language community would of course be in English using country. These students will have to use the target language to survive in that community.
2.2,2 School curriculum
Many students study English only because they have to learn English as a part of the school curriculum, a decision which has been taken by someone in
authority that it should be so.
2.2.3 Advancement
          Some people want to study English because they think it gives, in some general way, a chance for advancement in their daily life. It is possible that a good knowledge of a foreign language will help a person to get a better job than if he or she knows their native language only. This is particularly so because English is rapidly becoming the language of international communication.
          Businessmen need English and a young person wanting to get into business might well get a better starting position simply because he or she has a sound working knowledge of the language (ibid).
2.2.4 English for specific purposes
The term has been applied to situations where a student has some specific reasons for wanting to learn the language. For example, an air traffic controller to guide aircraft through the skies, this may be the only time in his\her life where English is used.
The Businessmen may need English for trade. The waiter may need English to serve his customers. The students who are going to study in an English country may need English so that they can write reports or essays and discuss in a seminar situation. The students of medicine or physics who are studying in their own country may need to be able to read textbooks and articles about that subject in English.
2.2.5 Culture
Some students study English as a foreign language because they are attracted by the culture of one of the target communities. They learn English because they want to learn and know about people who use it.
2.2.6 Other reasons
There are other reasons for language learning less important than those
mentioned above. Some students go to foreign language classes just for fun.
2.3 The Development of Writing
For those languages which do have writing systems, the development of writing, as we know it, is a relatively recent phenomenon. We may trace human attempts to represent information visually back to cave drawings which were made at least 20,000 years ago, or to clay tokens from about 10,000 years ago, which appear to have been an early attempt at bookkeeping, but these artifacts are best described as ancient precursors of writing. Writing which is based on some types of alphabetic script can only be traced back to inscriptions dated around 3,000 years ago (Yule 1985).
2.4 Teaching Second-Language Writing: Where we seem to be
Ilona Lekei (1991) has said that in the recent past, writing was the most ignored of the language skills. But many changes in attitude have occurred about teaching writing in a second language.
Traditionally, when students write in a second language, the purpose of writing activity is to catch grammar, spelling and punctuation errors. Students get good marks if they write texts with as few errors as possible. In order to avoid errors, then, students naturally write very cautiously and conservatively in their second language.
2.4.1 New emphases
But attitudes have changed about the role of writing in the teaching of a second language. Instead of being the last skill taught and instead of being only a servant to grammar, writing has now become much more important in the second language curriculum. Writing is the natural outlet for the students’ reflections on their speaking, listening and reading experiences in their second language. So what are the new emphases in teaching writing in a second language that allow students to develop this sense of success with the second language? The first and more important new emphasis is on the rhetorical context in which these students are writing. There are many different kinds of writing and many different reasons for writing. It is important for us as second-language teachers to figure out exactly what we are training our students for.
Next, there is a new emphasis on the content of student writing. Now students are writing about what they are interested in and know about, but most especially, what they really want to communicate to someone else, what they really want the reader to know.
2.4.1.1 Audience and purpose
Part of the rhetorical context and part of the content of student writing is determined by who the audience of the writing is and what the purpose of the writing is. Assignments that direct students to write for general public or for anyone who might be interested tend to be much more difficult to write than assignments in which students have an idea why they are writing and who will be reading their writing. Are they writing to entertain someone? to inform someone? to persuade someone? simply to explore their own thoughts? Depending on the answer, the content of the writing will be quite different. And who is the audience of this writing? If the students are always and only writing for their teacher, there is the risk that they will simply try to guess what the teacher wants and deliver that without committing themselves intellectually to what they are writing. In other words, they will complete assignments without caring about what they have written. If students know that what they write will actually be read by real people other than the teacher; people who care about the message not the medium, then writing becomes much easier, because knowing who the audience is and what the audience already knows helps writers to decide what to say and how to say it. Audience should be as real as possible, not imaginary readers but real ones.
Another development in teaching writing in a second language has been the emphasis on writing as a means of inventing, of exploring ideas, and of gathering information. As a result, students are now taught invention techniques to enable them to explore their own knowledge of a subject before attempting to write about it. They are also being taught specific techniques to enable them to use writing as a tool to help them think.
2.4.1.2 Publishing students’ writing
Students are much more likely to be willing to exert energy in their work if they think someone else will read it or even simply if their work is treated as important in itself, worthy of publication and the attention that publication brings.
Anything might be included in the possibilities for publication, but a good idea seems to be again to get the students as involved as possible by, for example, allowing the class to select a group of students to be the editorial board. The students in the class then decide which of their papers they would like to submit for review by the editorial board. This board then reviews the papers and decides which ones they feel should be published and which ones still need more work. The teacher helps the class to prepare work to please the editorial board.
2.4.1.3 Writing can be fun
Writing classes have changed. They have become more humanistic, more friendly and more fun. Students have a greater variety of writing tasks and more interesting opportunities to write. Students and teachers are more relaxed; they work together, they collaborate. Because of this, writing classes can be a great deal of fun while at the same time giving language students confidence in their ability to manipulate English.

2.5 A Comparison between speech and writing
Briefly, here are the main differences between speech and writing as (Todd 1987 p.8) has mentioned. Table No.1 shows this matter:
Table No.1: A Comparison between speech and writing
Speech
Writing
Composed on sounds
Composed on letters\signs
Make use of intonation, pitch, rhythm, tempo
Make use of punctuation and other graphical devices like italics
Produced effortlessly – no tools required
Produced with effort - tools required
Transitory
Relatively permanent
Perceived by the ear
Perceived by the eye
Addressee present
Addressee absent
Immediate feedback
Feedback delayed
Meaning helped by context, body movement, gestures
Meaning must be clear within the context
Spontaneous
Not spontaneous
Associative
Logical

Such a list is sufficient to indicate that speech and writing are very different mediums. Yet there are links between these mediums. Most writing systems are based on speech. As far as English is concerned, there is a rough equivalence between sounds and letters. This equivalence is not, however, very close in English. We find, for example, only three sounds in the following words of five letters:
knead
rough
The sounds of these words can be represented in more than one way, so that “need” is pronounced exactly the same way as “knead” and “ruff” sounds exactly as “rough”. Nor are these the only mismatches that occur between English sounds and letters. The “ee” sound can be represented in at least six ways:
beef
chief
deceive
even
machine
meat
and the sound “s” can be represented by both “s” and “c”:
ceiling
sealing
2.6 Types of Errors
In this study the researcher is going to concentrate on certain types of errors. These errors are: spelling errors, morphological errors, syntactic errors, semantic errors, and some miscellaneous errors.
2.6. 1. Spelling Errors
These error patterns are addressed through a focus on segmenting sounds in words, and linking the sounds explicitly to their representations – the letters used to spell them in particular words. This explicit knowledge is directly targeted in the Code section discussed under each of the previous error patterns. Extend knowledge of spelling conventions by collecting lists of words that use the same letter combinations to represent the same sounds. It caused by poor knowledge of relationship between sounds and letters such as: cll for kill, peg for pig, sad for said, pesos for pieces, plad for played, rafest for roughest. The following types of spelling errors may be present:
-  use of a short vowel in place of a long vowel: Note that what sometimes appears to be the use of a short vowel in place of a long vowel (eg ‘plad’ for ‘played’) may, in fact, indicate poor knowledge of spelling conventions. In this case, the spelling error may be due to the child using the letter name to represent the sound.
- Omission of vowels
- Inaccurate vowel representation
2. 6. 2. Morphological Errors
It has not been the goal of the preceding discussion to place into doubt the role of morphological decomposition in normal language processing. Evidence that the surface forms of words are parsed into morphological components during lexical access, and that morphologically complex words are generated from more basic stems and inflections during production has been derived from psycholinguistic experimentation with normal subjects (e.g., Taft, 1979, 1981, 1984; Stanners, Neiser, Hernon, and Hall, 1979; Burani et al., 1984), from research with brain-damaged subjects (e.g., Caramazza, Miceli, Silveri, & Laudanna, 1985), and from studies of normal speech errors (e.g., Garrett, 1980a, 198Ob, 1982; MacKay, 1979). What has been at issue, beyond the characterization of a particular instance of reading impairment, is whether the type of error operationally defined as morphological in acquired dyslexia can be attributed to impairments to these hypothesized morphological processing components. For example, the likelihood of producing a visual error that can be operationally defined as morphological can depend on some factors which organize the lexical-semantic system. (Concreteness vs. abstractness is one such factor.) Whether or not the activation of visually similar words at the visual stage of processing results in the activation of a set of words that are related in the lexical semantic system could also affect the probability of whether a visual deficit will result in a morphological error. To use an English example, we are suggesting that, while a pseudo prefixed stimulus like religion may have a potential cohort of visually related items (such as legion, Zion, etc.), these representations will not be related in the lexical-semantic system. An affixed word like repayment, on the other hand, will have a cohort of visually related words that are also semantically related (payment, repay, pay, repaying, paying, etc.); and this may contribute to the probability of producing a morphologically related form even if the deficit which induces such errors is visual in nature.
2.6. 3. Syntactic Errors
Syntax is the combination of words into sentences. Syntax, of course, depends on lexical categories (parts of speech.). There are eight main parts of speech in grammar school. Linguistics takes a different approach to these categories and separates words into morphological and syntactic groups. Linguistics analyzes words according to their affixes and the words that follow or precede them. Hopefully, the following definitions of the parts of speech will make more sense and be of more use than the old definitions of grammar school books.
Open Class Words
Nouns
_____ + plural endings
"dogs"
Det. Adj. _____ (this is called a Noun Phrase)
"the big dog"
Verbs
____ + tense endings
"speaks"
Aux. ____ (this is called a Verb Phrase)
"have spoken"
Adjectives
__ + er / est
"small"
Det. _ Noun
"the smaller child"
Adverbs
Adj. + ly
"quickly"
_ Adj. or  Verb or Adv.
"quickly ran"






Closed Class Words
Determiners
a, an, the, this, that,
these,
those, pronouns, quantities
 Adj.  Noun
"this blue book"
Auxiliary Verbs
forms of be, have, may,
can, shall
NP-VP
"the girl is swimming"
Prepositions
at, in, on, under,
over,
of
_ NP (this is called a Prepositional Phrase)
"in the room"
Conjunctions
and, but, or
N or V or Adj. __ N or V or Adj.
"apples and oranges"
2. 6. 4. Semantic Errors
            Richard D. Moores (2011) wrote: "Semantics" relates to the *meaning* of words, sentences or programs. In common English, we might say this sentence has a few grammatical errors, but the semantics are clear:
"I getted the milk out off the fridge and putted them into me coffee."
On the other hand, these sentences are grammatically fine but semantically ambiguous:
"Children make nutritious snacks."
"The thief was sentenced to six months in the violin case."
"Cocaine users are turning to ice."
"Police shoot man with crossbow."
"The building workers are refusing to work after fatal accidents." and of course the classic example of a grammatically valid sentence with no semantic meaning:
"Colourless green ideas sleep furiously."
Often we can guess the meaning of such ambiguous sentences from domain specific knowledge. We know that eating children is generally frowned upon, and so we reject the interpretation of the snacks being made *from* the children rather than *by* the children. Other times it is much harder to resolve the ambiguity:
"The English history teacher marked the test paper."
Did she or he, teach English history, or was she English and a history teacher? 
2.6. 5. Miscellaneous Errors
They are the errors other the ones previously mentioned. These errors can be paralleling, clearness, neatness…etc. Writers need to check particular words, and to understand their meaning. Some that I see too often as errors on student papers (from wikipedia):
  • affect | effect. The verb (affect) means "to influence something", and the noun effect means "the result of". Effect can also be a verb that means "to cause [something] to be", while affect as a noun has technical meanings in psychology, music, and aesthetic theory: an emotion or subjectively experienced feeling.
  • comprise. According to the OED, comprise is a transitive verb meaning 'to include' or 'to consist of', as in "the book comprises thirteen chapters". Commonly (and incorrectly), the word is used in a 'backwards formulation', as in "thirteen chapters comprise the book", or even "the book is comprised of thirteen chapters", a usage not sanctioned by any dictionary.
  • disinterested | uninterested. To be disinterested in something means to not be biased about something (i.e. to have no personal stake in a particular side of an issue). To be uninterested means to not be interested in or intrigued by something. I was recently criticized for being disrespectful when I referred to a "disinterested Board of Governors." Was I?
  • # e.g. and i.e. The abbreviation e.g. stands for the Latin exempli gratia "for example", and should be used when the example(s) given are just one or a few of many. The abbreviation i.e. stands for the Latin id est "that is", and is used to give the only example(s) or to otherwise qualify the statement just made.
  • imply | infer. Something is implied if it is a suggestion intended by the person speaking, whereas a conclusion is inferred if it is reached by the person listening.
  • lose | loose. Lose can mean "fail to win", "misplace", or "cease to be in possession". Loose can mean the opposite of tight, or the opposite of tighten. Lose is often misspelled loose, likely because lose has an irregular rhyme for the way it is spelled: it is more common for words ending -ose to rhyme, like nose, or rose, but lose rhymes, like news or confuse. This may cause poor spellers to guess the correct spelling should match another rhyming word like choose, although choose is itself also an exception to the regular rhyme for words ending -oose (typically such words, including loose, rhymes, like goose or caboose).
  • sight | site | cite. A site is a place; a sight is something seen. To cite is to quote or list as a source.
2.7 Errors Analysis
Systematically analyzing errors made by language learners makes it possible to determine areas that need reinforcement in teaching (Corder, 1974).
Error analysis is a type of linguistic analysis that focuses on the errors learners make. It consists of a comparison between the errors made in the Target Language (TL) and that TL itself. Pit Corder is the “Father” of Error Analysis (the EA with the “new look”). It was with his article entitled “The significance of Learner Errors” (1967) that EA took a new turn. Errors used to be “flaws” that needed to be eradicated. Corder presented a completely different point of view. He contended that those errors are “important in and of themselves.” For learners themselves, errors are 'indispensable,' since the making of errors can be regarded as a device the learner uses in order to learn. In 1994, Gass & Selinker defined errors as “red flags” that provide evidence of the learner’s knowledge of the second language. Researchers are interested in errors because they are believed to contain valuable information on the strategies that people use to acquire a language (Richards, 1974; Taylor, 1975; Dulay and Burt, 1974). Moreover, according to Richards and Sampson (1974, p. 15), “At the level of pragmatic classroom experience, error analysis will continue to provide one means by which the teacher assesses learning and teaching and determines priorities for future effort.” According to Corder (1974), error analysis has two objects: one theoretical and another applied. The theoretical object serves to “elucidate what and how a learner learns when he studies a second language.” And the applied object serves to enable the learner “to learn more efficiently by exploiting our knowledge of his dialect for pedagogical purposes.”
The investigation of errors can be at the same time diagnostic and prognostic. It is diagnostic because it can tell us the learner's state of the language (Corder, 1967) at a given point during the learning process, and prognostic because it can tell course organizers to reorient language learning materials on the basis of the learners' current problems. 
Before we proceed, it is essential here to define a few terms that we shall use in this paper:
-         Interlingual/Transfer errors: those attributed to the native language (NL). There are interlingual errors when the learner’s L1 habits (patterns, systems or rules) interfere or prevent him/her, to some extent, from acquiring the patterns and rules of the second language (Corder, 1971). Interference (negative transfer) is the negative influence of the mother language (L1) on the performance of the target language learner (L2) (Lado, 1964). It is 'those instances of deviation from the norms of either language which occur in the speech of bilinguals as a result of their familiarity with more than one language' (Weinreich, 1953, p.1).
Error analysis emphasizes “the significance of errors in learners’ interlanguage system” (Brown 1994, p. 204). The term interlanguage, introduced by Selinker (1972), refers to the systematic knowledge of an L2 which is independent of both the learner’s L1 and the target language. Nemser (1974, p. 55) referred to it as the Approximate System, and Corder (1967) as the Idiosyncratic Dialect or Transitional Competence.
-         Intralingual/Developmental errors: those due to the language being learned (TL), independent of the native language. According to Richards (1970) they are “items produced by the learner which reflect not the structure of the mother tongue, but generalizations based on partial exposure to the target language. The learner, in this case, tries to “derive the rules behind the data to which he/she has been exposed, and may develop hypotheses that correspond neither to the mother tongue nor to the target language” (Richards, 1970, p. 6).
2.8 Error Correction
According to TE Editor (2003) , when it comes to error correction we are dealing with one individual's reaction to a student's piece of writing or utterance. This inevitably means that there will be some disagreement among teachers about what, when, and how to correct. Therefore the aim of this article is not to be prescriptive, but to highlight some key areas. It is in 2 parts. In the first part we look at:
2.8.1    Attitudes to error correction
-         The fact that English is their second language and great emphasis was placed on correctness at their teacher training college.
-         The fact that as a native speaker they have never had to worry about their English.
-         A particular methodology / approach. In the 1960s a teacher using Audiolingualism would have adopted a behaviourist approach to error. More recently a teacher following the Natural Approach (influenced by second language acquisition theory) would have adopted a wholly different approach. Other methodologies/ approaches, such as Suggestopaedia and Total Physical Response, highlight the psychological effects of error correction on students.
     As for students, we not only have to consider their age but also their approach to learning. Some students are risk-takers, while others will only say something if they are sure it is correct. While being a risk-taker is generally positive as it leads to greater fluency, some students only seem to be concerned with fluency at the expense of accuracy. The same can be true when it comes to writing. Some students take an eternity to produce a piece of writing as they are constantly rubbing out what they have written while at the opposite extreme the writing is done as fast as possible without any planning or editing.
2.8.2    Categorizing errors
-         We can categorize an error by the reason for its production or by its linguistic type.
-         What's the reason for the error?
-         It is the result of a random guess (pre-systematic).
-         It was produced while testing out hypotheses (systematic).
-         It is a slip of the tongue, a lapse, a mistake (caused by carelessness, fatigue etc.) (post-systematic).
To be sure about the type of error produced by a student we need to know where the student's interlanguage is (the language used by a student in the process of learning a second language).
-         What type is it?
We can classify errors simply as productive (spoken or written) or receptive (faulty understanding). Alternatively we can use the following:
    • A lexical error - vocabulary
    • A phonological error - pronunciation
    • A syntactic error- grammar
    • An interpretive error - misunderstanding of a speaker's intention or meaning
    • A pragmatic error - failure to apply the rules of conversation

2.8.3       Sources of Errors
In 1972, Selinker (in Richards, 1974, p. 37) reported five sources of errors:
- Language transfer
- Transfer of training
- Strategies of second language learning
- Strategies of second language communication, and
- Overgeneralization of TL linguistic material.
In 1974 Corder (in Allen & Corder, p. 130) identified three sources of errors: Language Transfer, Overgeneralization or analogy, & Methods or Materials used in the Teaching (teaching-induced error).
In the paper titled “The Study of Learner English” that Richards and Simpson wrote in 1974, they exposed seven sources of errors:
- Language transfer, to which one third of the deviant sentences from second language learners could be attributed (George, 1971).
- Intralingual interference: In 1970, Richards exposed four types and causes for intralingual errors:
a.     overgeneralization (p. 174): it is associated with redundancy reduction. It covers instances where the learner creates a deviant structure on the basis of his experience of other structures in the target language. It may be the result of the learner reducing his linguistic burden.
b.     ignorance of rule restrictions: i.e. applying rules to contexts to which they do not apply.
c.      incomplete application of rules
d.     semantic errors such as building false concepts/systems: i.e. faulty comprehension of distinctions in the TL.
- Sociolinguistic situation: motivation (instrumental or integrative) and settings for language learning (compound or co-ordinate bilingualism) may affect second language learning.
- Modality: modality of exposure to the TL and modality of production.
- Age: learning capacities vary with age.
- Successions of approximative systems:  since the circumstances of language learning vary from a person to another, so does the acquisition of new lexical, phonological, and syntactic items.
- Universal hierarchy of difficulty:  this factor has received little attention in the literature of second language acquisition. It is concerned with the inherent difficulty for man of certain phonological, syntactic, or semantic items or structures. Some forms may be inherently difficult to learn no matter what the background of the learner.
- Interlingual: interference happens when “an item or structure in the second language manifests some degree of difference from, and some degree of similarity with the equivalent item or structure in the learner’s first language” (Jackson, 1987: 101).
The studies relating to the process of language transfer and overgeneralization received considerable attention in the literature. Swan and Smith (1995, p. ix) gave a detailed account of errors made by speakers of nineteen different L1 backgrounds in relation to their native languages.  Diab (1996) also conducted a study in order to show through error analysis the interference of the mother-tongue, Arabic, in the English writings of EFL students at the American University of Beirut. Okuma (1999) studied the L1 transfer in the EFL writings of Japanese students.
Work on over-generalization errors, on the other hand, is reported by Richards (1974, pp. 174-188), Jain (in Richards, 1974, pp. 208-214) and Taylor (1975). Furthermore, Farooq (1998) identified and analyzed two error patterns in written texts of upper-basic Japanese learners, in an EFL context. He focused on both transfer and overgeneralization errors. Habash (1982) studied common errors in the use of English prepositions in the written work of UNRWA students at the end of the preparatory cycle in the Jerusalem area and found out that more errors were attributable to interference from Arabic than to other learning problems.
All these studies focused on Transfer &/or Overgeneralization errors, however, none of them dealt with “ESL” students who have been studying English as a First Language. The reason why I called them ESL students is that, at home, they speak mainly Arabic.















Chapter Three
The Research Methodology and Procedures
3.1 The Study Population
The study population of this research is the students of first and second year, Al-Furqan Private Secondary Schools (boys and girls), Khartoum (2012). The students were studying English language as one of the required subjects. The English curriculum was SPINE series made by Sudanese teachers and experts. The number of the students was (50). They were all Sudanese, speaking Arabic as a mother tongue.
3.2 The Sample of the Study
To see whether there are some errors committed by the Sudanese secondary schools students in Khartoum Locality when they are given a writing task or not, the researcher prepared a composition mock examination for students whom he had been teaching for four months. The researcher previously told them that he wanted to test their English information and asked them to get ready for a certain topic. The researcher told them that they’re going to write about their friends giving them no other details.
          The school where this research was conducted is one of the private schools spreading everywhere. The students whom the researcher took as a sample for this research only represent their peers at the other secondary schools here and there. They were 50 students (boys & girls). Their academic levels differed from one another. But they were supposed to be of a high social and financial position because they paid to learn.
          The mock examination was only one question. The students were asked to write about their friends they liked much. They were asked to write not less than 80 words. The following points were given to them to use as optional guides:
-         Your friend’s name
-         Where does he\she live?
-         Age  
-         School
-         Descriptions
-         Why do you like him\her?
-         How often do you meet together? Where?
-         His\Her family
Then a day came and the researcher seated with them giving everyone a paper to write the composition on. He kept an eye on them all; boys and girls separately. Some students cunningly tried to get information from him and from their classmates but he blocked the way telling them that he just wanted their own minds’ store.
3.3 Method of Data Collection
The subjects were given sufficient time to do the task and were asked to carefully review and self-correct their work. The purpose of this was to make sure that the participants’ production contained mainly errors, neither mistakes nor lapses.
      The participants’ papers were marked and the resulting errors were classified, described and analyzed looking for four linguistic branches (spelling, syntax, morphology and semantics). Certainly, there were other types of errors a teacher could look for. But only these four types were focused in this research. The required data has been collected after a very hard work hoping that a fruitful thing can be enjoyed.
The researcher told the students what they have done and how they had to do it. The following pages are the result of what he has come across. Not all errors are going to be copied. Instead, some examples are going to be shown and how many times they appeared in the students’ papers. So you are kindly requested to have a look. The subjects’ papers were looked over four times using four different colour pens and each type of errors was put aside separately.
3.4 The Statistical Treatment
          In order to answer the research questions raised in chapter one, the researcher used a simple statistical method. The participants’ errors were numbered and counted in terms of the frequency of their occurrences. In the light of the frequencies of errors, the research shows the common errors committed by the participants, their categories and the most commonly used strategies employed by the participants who committed such errors.

















Chapter Four
4.0 Introduction
When the researcher had the papers in his hands, he used four different colour pens looking for four types of errors while he was marking the papers. These four types of errors were: spelling errors, morphological errors, syntactic errors, and semantic errors. The following is a detail for this thing.
4.1 Spelling Errors
The researcher has collected about 217 errors in this concern. Repeating the same error by the same student was not counted. The researcher has classified this number of errors as in table No. 2:
Table No.2:  Spelling Errors
Types of errors
Number of errors
Percentage
1.     Vowel errors
93
%42.9
2.     Complex errors
31
%14.3
3.     Lexical confusion
26
%12
4.     Silent letters
20
%9.2
5.     Capitalization
15
%6.9
6.     Inversion
8
%3.7
7.     Doubling
7
%3.2
8.     Consonant letters
6
%2.8
9.     Spoken language
5
%2.3
10.Wrong position
4
%1.8
    11. Semi-vowel
2
%0.9
Total
217
%100

Figure No.1: Spelling Errors
1. Vowel Errors
With this type of errors, the researcher means the words that have missed, exceeded or changed their vowels (one or more) such as:
* “becuse”           instead of     “because”
* “sester”            instead of     “sister”
* “mather”          instead of     “mother”
2. Complex Errors
These are the words that have more than one type of error such as:
* “scoole”     instead of       “school”
* “sectar”      instead of       “sister”
* “peauitful   instead of     “beautiful”
3. Lexical Confusion
    This is the most enjoyable type of error. A student intends to use a certain word but he\she writes another one that gives a quite different meaning and may be exposed to a critical position such as:
* Some students wanted to say that they “feel” happy with their friends but unfortunately they “fell”.
* Others wanted to describe their friends’ “hair” with the black colour but they described their “hare” instead.
* Other poor students liked their friends because they “laugh” but they sadly found themselves in a “lough” and might need a lifebuoy.
4. Silent Letters
This is one of the most problematic areas in English. Many students wonder a lot why they find a letter or a group of letters in a word since they are not sounded. So they feel troublesome when writing such words. The researcher sometimes tries to defend these poor letters by saying that some silent letters may change the pronunciation of a word. For example, a child’s “kit” may fly in the air if it finds a poor “e” to become a “kite” or that some passengers always “plan” to catch a “plane” on time. However, we still find some students insist on their own viewpoints. They write:
* “hav”            instead of             “have”
* “no”    instead of             “know”
* “wen” instead of             “when”
5. Capitalization
Students should elementarily be taught where they must use capital letters and small letters.
* We normally write   “Allah”      not    “allah”
* For countries like    “Sudan”     not    “sudan”
* In the middle of a sentence we write “and”   not    “And”
6. Inversion
Some students write the required letters of a word. But they invert some ones such as:
* “hiar” for     “hair”
* “tow” for     “two”
* “tinnes”         for     “tennis”
7. Doubling
Some students are very generous. They add letters from their own or they may refer to other rules. For example, they write:
* “beautifull”   instead of             “beautiful”
* “deepth”                instead of             “depth”
* “crazzy”                  instead of             “crazy”
8. Consonant Letters
I think it is a matter of stupidity not to write a sounded letter. Some students miss letters like:
* “n”      in       “friend”
* Or substitute “t”     for     “d” as in “foodball”
* Or “resbect”  instead of             “respect”
9. Spoken Language
Students may sometimes do not depend on a certain rule when they want to write some words. They just write the sounds they hear such as:
* “skndare”               instead of             “secondary”
* “noize”                   instead of             “noisy”
* “happynies” instead of             “happiness”
10. Wrong Position:
All the necessary letters may be seen in a word. However, one of them may get astray as in:
* “eyars”                  for       “years”
* “beuatiful”            for       “beautiful”
* “lievs”                   for       “lives”
11. Semi-vowel
The letter “y” does want to be neither with the vowels nor the consonants. Therefore, some strong students throw it away and write:
* “studie”         instead of     “study”
* “studic”         instead of       “studies”
4.2 Morphological Errors
The researcher has collected about 23 errors. Table No. 3 shows this.
Table No. 3: Morphological Errors
Types of errors
Number of errors
Percentage
1. Plural
16
%69.6
2. Possessive case
4
%17.4
3. Derivational
3
%13
Total
23
%100


Figure No. 2: Morphological Errors
1. Plural
Many students do not write an “s” for plural nouns. They say:
* I have many “friend”  instead of             “friends”
* two “sister”                 instead of     “sisters”
2. Possessive Case
Others do not know how to form a possessive case as in:
* My friend her name is … instead of
+ My friend’s name is …
* Rawan family is very … instead of
+ Rawan’s family is very …
3. Derivational
Some students need to know how to deal with the adjectives, adverbs, prefixes and suffixes very well in order not to write:
* She is “beautifully”     instead of    “beautiful”
4.3 Syntactic Errors
The researcher has collected about 149 errors. Table No. 4 shows these details.
        Table No. 4: Syntactic Errors
Types of errors
Number of errors
Percentage
1. Wrong tense
55
%36.9
2. Verbs to be
30
%20.1
3. Pronouns
25
%16.8
4. Articles
18
%12.1
5. Prepositions
7
%4.7
6. Verb to have
5
%3.4
7. Adverbs
3
%2
8. Wrong order
3
%2
9. Infinitive
2
%1.3
10. Gerund
1
%0.7
Total
149
%100

   Figure No. 3: Syntactic Errors
1. Wrong Tense
The most common errors can clearly be noticed in this type of errors. Some students write:
* She\He “live” in Kalakla.      instead of    “lives”
* his father “die” in 2007         instead of    “died”
* We “play” together “since” 10 years.       instead of:
+ We have been playing together for 10 years.
* I am never ever ever can live without him.                  instead of:
+ I can never ever live without him.
2. Verbs to be omission
The main problem to be said here is that the students’ mother tongue (i.e. Arabic) has a great effect in their way of expressing English. They have not come across a “verb to be” used in the present tense. So they simply say:
* When he in Khartoum.         instead of:
+ When he is in Khartoum.
* She tall.    instead of:
+ She is tall.
* My composition about my friend. instead of:
+ My composition is about my friend.
3. Pronouns
Students badly need to differentiate between the various forms of pronouns. They must know how to use these pronouns when they are subjects, objects, possessive …etc. They are not expected to say:
* My friend helps my.    instead of saying:
+ My friend helps me.
* He hair is very long.    instead of saying:
+ His hair is very long.
* His live in … instead of saying:
+ He lives in …
4. Articles
The critical problem here is that esteemed students are not accustomed to see a noun preceded by “a” or “an”. Therefore, they say:
* Muhammad is good man.     instead of:
+ Muhammad is a good man.
Or they may even use a singular article with a plural noun such as:
* She has a brown eyes.          instead of    She has brown eyes.
They also say:
* (She) lives in U.S.A.  instead of    (She) lives in the U.S.A.
5. Prepositions
I think this is one of the most problematic areas that students face. They need to use the correct preposition in the appropriate position. That is because absence or misuse of a preposition may give another meaning and may cause problems. How can we imagine a student saying:
* I am going to write my friend.              !     instead of:
+ I am going to write about my friend.
* He lives Toti.     instead of    He lives in Toti.
* I talk to him in (internet).     instead of:
+ I talk to him through the internet.
6. Verb to have
Students of today usually mishandle such a verb. They need to know when do we use “have” and when “has” is a must. They are also asked to know the use of have\has as a main verb and have\has as a helping verb. The following examples show the matter very clearly. They say:
* (He have)                    whereas                (He has)      is correct.
* We growing up instead of:
+ We have grown up
7. Adverbs
All types of adverbs are necessarily required to be known. Students are surely not correct to say:
* We go (for) anywhere together.      instead of:
+ We go everywhere together.
* She visits me always.  instead of:   She always visits me.
8. Wrong Order
An English sentence has a certain order that must be followed. Otherwise, there will be a group of words going somewhere else. We cannot say:
* She is best my friend.      instead of:           She is my best friend.
* School Furqan                      instead of:   Furqan School
9. Infinitive
Verbs normally take no “s”, “_ing”, nor “-ed” when they are followed by “to”. It is silly to say:
* I am going to “writing” …   instead of:     I am going to “write”…
10. Gerund
Other verbs eagerly need to have “-ing”. Instead of saying:
* She loves sing.   We say:   She loves singing.
4.4 Semantic Errors     
The researcher has collected about 25 errors. Table No. 5 shows these details.
          Table No. 5: Semantic Errors
Types of errors
Number of errors
Percentage
1. Implication of sexual relation
9
%36
2. Sarcasm
6
%24
3. Synonym
4
%16
4. Entertainment
3
%12
5. Dignity
2
%8
6. Mother tongue
1
%4
Total
25
%100


Figure No. 4: Semantic Errors
1. Implication of Sexual Relation
The word “love” may sometimes be misunderstood. What can people say when they see a lad writing:
* I “love” him instead of    I “like” him?!
* Or a lady misled her way while she was talking about her female friend and said:
* I love “him”            instead of    I love “her”!
2. Sarcasm:
Other boys may write:
* My friend is very “beautiful”.  instead of
+ My friend is very “handsome”.
3. Synonym:
Some students write:
* He\She has “tall” hair.     instead of
+ He\She has “long” hair.
4. Entertainment:
Some students may be affected by the means of communication and entertainment in their daily lives especially the internet and the television. They write:
* My friend’s name is “Leo Missi”         instead of any other local name because Missi is a famous footballer and I do not think he is free enough to come to our schools and make a friendly relationship with our poor students.
* She is very “like”.   instead of: She is very “nice” or “beautiful” or any other similar word.
5. Dignity:
A student may loose his\her way and say:
* My friend is very clever because I like him. to mean:
* I like my friend because he is very clever.
6. Mother Tongue:
Other students may convey their mother tongue culture to express a foreign one. Therefore, they say:
* He is “green”.                   instead of
+ He is “black”.                  or
+ He is of a dark skin.









Chapter Five
Conclusions and Recommendations
5.1 Summary of the Study
          The purpose of this study was to investigate the errors in the subjects’ written performance in the terms of their categories, their possible explanations and the learning strategies responsible for their occurrence.
          In order to achieve these objectives, the researcher conducted the study on students of secondary schools where he worked. The study population only represented other peers of the same circumstances.
          The needed data were collected from the subjects’ answers intending to cover specific linguistic areas. The researcher used the descriptive method with simple statistics in presenting the collected data. The total number of the students was (50).
          The results obtained from the data analysis confirmed the research hypotheses mentioned in chapter one. The results also agree with the assumptions that the subjects’ errors were due to difficulties inherent in the English language itself.
The hypotheses of the study were that
1.     The common errors committed by the Sudanese secondary schools students of English language are due to difficulties in the target language itself rather than to any other cause.
2.     Many linguistic errors can easily be noticed in students writing production.
The previous pages have shown clear answers for these hypotheses. Table No.6 sums up the four types of errors committed by the subjects:


Table No.6: Total Errors of Students
Types of Errors
Frequency of Errors
Percentage
1. Spelling Errors
217
%52,4
2. Morphological Errors
23
%5.6
3. Syntactic Errors
149
%36
4. Semantic Errors
25
%6
Total
414
%100

Figure No. 5: Total Errors of Students
5.2 Recommendations
          The results of the present study showed that the English of the subjects is ill-formed in the sense that they have not yet identified the various linguistic rules required for the transformations asked by the given tasks. So the researcher offered the following recommendations to help improve the subjects’ writing production.
1.     The subjects should be given adequate exposure to the target language (English) through the various language skills to minimize the possibility of making such errors.
2.     The subjects should also be given opportunities to practise their English, in both receptive and productive forms. Their present chances are not enough for adequate mastery of the target language.
3.     The subjects’ errors seemed to spring from the generalization of false concepts. Teachers should inform their students of the exceptions to the rules.
4.     Those who are concerned with the teaching of these subjects ought to provide explanations with regard to the possible sources and causes of errors so as to bring about an awareness of the possible areas.
5.     Learning some dictionary skills is highly needed in the curriculum of the secondary schools.
5.3 Suggestions for Further Studies
1.     The results of the present study cannot be generalized to the whole population of Sudan secondary schools students. Therefore, longitudinal studies are called for in order to bring about more reliable results to be generalized.
2.     The present research depended upon data which was collected from controlled written tasks. This led to the concentration on certain linguistic rules. A research built on data from free spontaneous tasks might be useful in giving a chance for errors from other areas.
3.     Since some of the linguistic errors might stem from the teaching methods, there is a need for research in the way(s) of how teaching linguistic skills is given.
4.     In general, due to their various academic levels, Sudanese secondary schools can be an ideal field for conducting researches in the field of linguistic errors, to obtain the most reliable results in this respect.
5.     A big size of research is to constitute the foundation for an essential project. The expected investigations are to evaluate the SPINE materials which provide the learner with the language he utilizes in writing exercises. It is advisable to bring the writing research very close to the classroom where so many unexpected occurrences crop up. Such an effort fills the gap between theoretical linguistics and the applied; a complaint that professionals always raise. The instructor’s view is to be considered.
The class wall papers, group work, discussion, societies and libraries are research facets that contribute to the development of the writing project.               














References
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18.            Richards, J.C. (ed.) (1974). Error Analysis. Perspectives on second language acquisition. London: Longman
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Appendix
Some samples of the subjects’ papers after having been marked



















































































































































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