Error Analysis on College Students’ Writing

Abstract: Error is a kind of common linguistic phenomenon in English writing practice. Since English learners want to obtain language proficiency, it is unavoidable for them to make different errors, and it is the reflection of how students accept English. Therefore, it is necessary to do error analysis to get a comprehensive view of English learning process. Error analysis refers to the study and analysis of errors made by second and foreign language learners. Error analysis tends to collect and identify the errors made by second or foreign language learners in order to classify and explain them. Errors are no longer seen as undesirable, but as a guide to the inner workings of the language learning process. Therefore, error analysis may be carried out in order to: identify strategies which learners use in language learning; try to identify the causes of learner errors; and obtain information on common difficulties in language learning as an aid to teaching or in the preparation of teaching material.The history, definition, the current relevant research on error analysis at home and abroad, types and courses of respective error are analyzed in the research. Meanwhile, the comparison between error analysis and contrastive analysis is made to get a deep understanding of the significance and weakness of error analysis. The personality factor is also illustrated to find out the attitudes of extroverted and introverted students towards error feedbacks.Corder (1974) in his“Error Analysis”suggests the following five steps in error analysis research: collection, identification, description, explanation, evaluation of errors. The stages will be followed in writer’s research on error analysis. Four different kinds of error corrections are adopted to investigate which is preferable to students.Correction is“obviously a second move of an adjacency pair to a first speaker’s or writer’s utterance by someone who has made the judgment that all or part of that utterance is linguistically or factually wrong”(James, 1998: 235).Although the error analysis on college students’writing practices is limited in time, resources, and range of application, it does help to enhance teachers’sensitivity to identify and solve the problems students have met in their writing, take a positive attitude towards errors and explore students’learning psychology, learning process, and strategies they used. Additionally, it helps to determine which areas in the learners’productions need more attention and what type of attention. It provides information on common difficulties in language learning, thus teachers can take active measures and adjust their teaching style and teaching material…
Key words: error analysis; English writing; error correction; error feedback

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