abbasibe.persianblog.ir Website Value
Website Value Calculator EFL Learners' Types of Oral Errors - آموزش انگلیسی به عنوان زبان دوم

آموزش انگلیسی به عنوان زبان دوم

بانک سوالات دبیرستان و پیش دانشگاهی . مکالمه . مقالات . آپدیت روزانه Nod 32

EFL Learners' Types of Oral Errors
نویسنده : غلامعلی عباسی - ساعت ۱٢:٤۱ ‎ق.ظ روز ۱۳٩٠/۱۱/٤
 

 

In His Exalted Name

EFL Learners' Types of Oral Errors

and

 Teachers' Preferences For Correction

 

By:

Morteza Ahmady Gohari

 

Abstract

Error correction has so far been dealt with in teaching English as a foreign language. Generally the role of this issue been restricted to teachers; however, a new wave of research has started to seek learner's opinions towards error correction. The process of error occurrence is inevitable in learning a language and knowing how to deal with it and how to provide appropriate feedback has always been the subject of investigation. The present study seeks to find out the role of error correction in EFL classroom and how much teachers care for error correction in oral context and what types of errors they consider to be corrected and what methods of correction they use. It also aims at finding about the learner's attitude towards error correction. It tries to investigate how best errors can be treated. It deals primarily with pedagogical applications for error analysis and error correction and is addressed to foreign and second language teachers.

 

Key words: error, mistake, error, correction, error analysis.

 

Introduction

Since many Iranians attempt to learn English as a foreign language nowadays and attend different English classes, the researcher attempts to investigate some English classes and investigates the common errors which are made by such students and also the methods which are used by the teachers to correct their errors and to find out which errors are mostly corrected. Many language teachers complain about their students' inability to use the linguistic forms that they are taught. This situation is due to the teachers' false impression that output should be an authentic representation of input. This ignores the function of intake that knowledge of language the students internalize. Intake may be independent of the teachers` syllabus being subject to an internal system analogous to Chomsky's language acquisition device.   

     Study learners errors is part of the systematic study of the learners` language which is itself necessary to an understanding of the process of second language acquisition. We need to have such knowledge if we are to make any well-formed proposal for the development and improvement of the materials and techniques of language teaching.

       Teachers, linguists and psycholinguists have always been interested in errors produced by foreign and second language learners either in their speech or writing or both.  In fact learners` errors have been the subject of extensive investigation and heated controversy for quite a long time.               This study is essentially pedagogical and aims at predicating and solving learners` errors and difficulties. It seems necessary to discuss different aspects of this discipline in this thesis.

     Keshavarz (1999) pointed out, "with regard to first language acquisition, as (cited in Menyuk, 1971) claimed that the study of the child native language learners` error throws light on the types of cognitive and linguistic processes that appear to be part of the language learning process."(P. 42)                               

        In second and foreign language learning a  more positive attitude developed towards learners` errors compared  to what was  prevalent in Contrastive Analysis. Errors were  no longer considered as evil signs of failure.             

     Teaching and/or learning, to be eradicated at any cost; rather, they were seen as a necessary part of language learning process.

     It is now widely maintained that language learning, like acquiring virtually any other human learning involves making of errors. The learner profits from his errors by using them to obtain feedback from the environment and in turn to use that feedback to test and modify his hypotheses about the target language. Thus, from the study of learners` errors we are able to get some information about the native language and the knowledge of the target language at a given point in learning career and discover what he still has to learn.

      By describing and classifying errors in linguistic terms, we build up a picture of features of the language which are causing  learning problems. 

   

Definitions of Error

Referring to Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching & Applied Linguistics the following definitions are found for error: (P. 127)

     Error (in the speech or writing of a second or foreign language learner) is the use of a linguistic item (e.g. a grammatical item, a speech act, etc.) in a way which a fluent or native speaker of the language regards as showing faulty or incomplete learning. A distinction is sometimes made between an error, which results from incomplete knowledge, and a mistake made by a learner when writing or speaking and which is caused by lack of attention, fatigue, carelessness, or some other aspect of performance. Errors are sometimes classified according to vocabulary (lexical error), pronunciation (phonological error), grammar, (syntactic error), misunderstanding of a speaker's intention or meaning (interpretive error), production of the wrong communicative effect e.g. through the faulty use of speech act or one of the rules of speaking (pragmatic error).

     Brown (2000) defined error as, "An error, a noticeable deviation from the adult grammar of a native speaker, reflect the competence of the learner.

"(p. 217)

      Keshavarz (1999) reminded, "with regard to syntactic errors, Burt and Kiparsky (1975) classified second language learners` errors into two distinct categories: (a) global, and (b) local. 'Global' errors are those that cause a listener or reader to misunderstand a message or to consider a sentence incomprehensible, and 'local, errors are those that do not significantly hinder communication of a sentence's message. He found that errors within a constituent or a clause affect the comprehension of a sentence far less than errors which are made in major constituent order or across clause boundaries. In other words, errors in pluralization, article usage, tense usage, etc. are less important in terms of sentence comprehensibility than are errors in word order, or the choice and placement of appropriate connectors thus, it is implied from the above that priority in error correction should be given to 'global' in order to give the student the greatest possible mileage in terms of acquiring the ability to communicate in the second language."(P. 131)

     Keshavarz (1999) gave a definition for errors versus mistakes, "a distinction has been made between 'errors' and 'mistakes'. Errors are rule-governed and systematic in nature and as such indicative of learner's linguistic system at a given stage of language learning. Systematic errors reveal something about the learner's underlying knowledge of the target language to date, i.e. his transitional competence." (p. 49) 

      Developmental error: an error in the language use of a first or second language learner which is the result of a normal pattern of development, and which is common language learners.

     Interlingual error is an error which results from LANGUAGE TRANSFER, that is, which is caused by the learner's native language.

      Intralingual error is one which results from faulty or partial learning of the TARGET LANGUAGE, rather than from language transfer. Interalingual errors may be caused by the influence of one target language item upon another.

     Fossilization (in second or foreign language learning) a process which sometimes occurs in which incorrect linguistic features become a permanent part of the way a person speaks or writes a language. Aspects of pronunciation, vocabulary usage, and grammar may become fixed or fossilized in second or foreign language learning. Fossilized features of pronunciation contribute to a person's foreign accent. 

         Brown (2000) defined fossilization as, "It is quite common to encounter in a learner's language various erroneous features that persist despite what is otherwise a reasonably fluent command of the language. This phenomenon is most saliently manifested phonologically in "foreign accents" in the speech of many of those who have learned a second language after puberty. We also frequently observe syntactic and lexical errors persisting in the speech of those who have learned a language quite well. The relatively permanent incorporation of incorrect linguistic forms into a person's second language competence has been referred to as fossilization."(P. 231)

Objective of the study

The purpose of the present study is to investigate how language teachers care for error correction in oral context and prediction power for teachers.  What types of error they consider to be corrected and what correction techniques they use and the time they find to be appropriate for error correction (immediate, delayed, and postponed) and the ones (teacher, peer, self) who should correct errors.

      It also aims at finding about the learners` attitude toward error correction and what aspects of language (grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary, content) they prefer to be corrected, when and with whom they prefer to be corrected. Regarding these findings, this study aims at finding an answer to the question whether error correction helps learners to develop their interlingual ability? In particular, the present study aims at seeking answers to the following research questions:

1- What types of errors are committed by EFL learners (pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary and content) at different proficiency levels?            

2- Who corrects the errors (teacher, self, peer) at different proficiency levels?

3- What types of errors are preferred to be corrected by teachers  pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary and content) at different proficiency levels?   

4- What language is used to correct errors (L1, L2 or mixed) at different proficiency levels?

 5- When are the errors corrected (immediately, delayed, postponed or ignored) at different proficiency levels?

6- Which method of correction (immediately, delayed, postponed, peer correction and self-correction) is mostly used at different proficiency levels?

7- What is the relationship between learners` proficiency (intermediate or advanced) and types of errors (grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary and content) which are committed by EFL learners?

8- What is the relationship between learners` proficiency (intermediate or advanced) and the person (teacher, self, peer) who corrects the errors?

9- What is the relationship between learners` proficiency (intermediate or advanced) and teacher preferences for correction (grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary or content)?

10- What is the relationship between learners` proficiency (intermediate or advanced) and the language is used for correction (L1, L2 or mixed)?

11- What is the relationship between learners` proficiency (intermediate or advanced) and the timing ((immediately, delayed, postponed or ignored) of correcting errors?

12- What is the relationship between learners` proficiency (intermediate or advanced) and method of correction (immediately, delayed, postponed, peer correction and self-correction)?

 

 


 

In His Exalted Name

EFL Learners' Types of Oral Errors

and

 Teachers' Preferences For Correction

 

By:

Morteza Ahmady Gohari

 

Abstract

Error correction has so far been dealt with in teaching English as a foreign language. Generally the role of this issue been restricted to teachers; however, a new wave of research has started to seek learner's opinions towards error correction. The process of error occurrence is inevitable in learning a language and knowing how to deal with it and how to provide appropriate feedback has always been the subject of investigation. The present study seeks to find out the role of error correction in EFL classroom and how much teachers care for error correction in oral context and what types of errors they consider to be corrected and what methods of correction they use. It also aims at finding about the learner's attitude towards error correction. It tries to investigate how best errors can be treated. It deals primarily with pedagogical applications for error analysis and error correction and is addressed to foreign and second language teachers.

 

Key words: error, mistake, error, correction, error analysis.

 

Introduction

Since many Iranians attempt to learn English as a foreign language nowadays and attend different English classes, the researcher attempts to investigate some English classes and investigates the common errors which are made by such students and also the methods which are used by the teachers to correct their errors and to find out which errors are mostly corrected. Many language teachers complain about their students' inability to use the linguistic forms that they are taught. This situation is due to the teachers' false impression that output should be an authentic representation of input. This ignores the function of intake that knowledge of language the students internalize. Intake may be independent of the teachers` syllabus being subject to an internal system analogous to Chomsky's language acquisition device.   

     Study learners errors is part of the systematic study of the learners` language which is itself necessary to an understanding of the process of second language acquisition. We need to have such knowledge if we are to make any well-formed proposal for the development and improvement of the materials and techniques of language teaching.

       Teachers, linguists and psycholinguists have always been interested in errors produced by foreign and second language learners either in their speech or writing or both.  In fact learners` errors have been the subject of extensive investigation and heated controversy for quite a long time.               This study is essentially pedagogical and aims at predicating and solving learners` errors and difficulties. It seems necessary to discuss different aspects of this discipline in this thesis.

     Keshavarz (1999) pointed out, "with regard to first language acquisition, as (cited in Menyuk, 1971) claimed that the study of the child native language learners` error throws light on the types of cognitive and linguistic processes that appear to be part of the language learning process."(P. 42)                               

        In second and foreign language learning a  more positive attitude developed towards learners` errors compared  to what was  prevalent in Contrastive Analysis. Errors were  no longer considered as evil signs of failure.             

     Teaching and/or learning, to be eradicated at any cost; rather, they were seen as a necessary part of language learning process.

     It is now widely maintained that language learning, like acquiring virtually any other human learning involves making of errors. The learner profits from his errors by using them to obtain feedback from the environment and in turn to use that feedback to test and modify his hypotheses about the target language. Thus, from the study of learners` errors we are able to get some information about the native language and the knowledge of the target language at a given point in learning career and discover what he still has to learn.

      By describing and classifying errors in linguistic terms, we build up a picture of features of the language which are causing  learning problems. 

   

Definitions of Error

Referring to Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching & Applied Linguistics the following definitions are found for error: (P. 127)

     Error (in the speech or writing of a second or foreign language learner) is the use of a linguistic item (e.g. a grammatical item, a speech act, etc.) in a way which a fluent or native speaker of the language regards as showing faulty or incomplete learning. A distinction is sometimes made between an error, which results from incomplete knowledge, and a mistake made by a learner when writing or speaking and which is caused by lack of attention, fatigue, carelessness, or some other aspect of performance. Errors are sometimes classified according to vocabulary (lexical error), pronunciation (phonological error), grammar, (syntactic error), misunderstanding of a speaker's intention or meaning (interpretive error), production of the wrong communicative effect e.g. through the faulty use of speech act or one of the rules of speaking (pragmatic error).

     Brown (2000) defined error as, "An error, a noticeable deviation from the adult grammar of a native speaker, reflect the competence of the learner.

"(p. 217)

      Keshavarz (1999) reminded, "with regard to syntactic errors, Burt and Kiparsky (1975) classified second language learners` errors into two distinct categories: (a) global, and (b) local. 'Global' errors are those that cause a listener or reader to misunderstand a message or to consider a sentence incomprehensible, and 'local, errors are those that do not significantly hinder communication of a sentence's message. He found that errors within a constituent or a clause affect the comprehension of a sentence far less than errors which are made in major constituent order or across clause boundaries. In other words, errors in pluralization, article usage, tense usage, etc. are less important in terms of sentence comprehensibility than are errors in word order, or the choice and placement of appropriate connectors thus, it is implied from the above that priority in error correction should be given to 'global' in order to give the student the greatest possible mileage in terms of acquiring the ability to communicate in the second language."(P. 131)

     Keshavarz (1999) gave a definition for errors versus mistakes, "a distinction has been made between 'errors' and 'mistakes'. Errors are rule-governed and systematic in nature and as such indicative of learner's linguistic system at a given stage of language learning. Systematic errors reveal something about the learner's underlying knowledge of the target language to date, i.e. his transitional competence." (p. 49) 

      Developmental error: an error in the language use of a first or second language learner which is the result of a normal pattern of development, and which is common language learners.

     Interlingual error is an error which results from LANGUAGE TRANSFER, that is, which is caused by the learner's native language.

      Intralingual error is one which results from faulty or partial learning of the TARGET LANGUAGE, rather than from language transfer. Interalingual errors may be caused by the influence of one target language item upon another.

     Fossilization (in second or foreign language learning) a process which sometimes occurs in which incorrect linguistic features become a permanent part of the way a person speaks or writes a language. Aspects of pronunciation, vocabulary usage, and grammar may become fixed or fossilized in second or foreign language learning. Fossilized features of pronunciation contribute to a person's foreign accent. 

         Brown (2000) defined fossilization as, "It is quite common to encounter in a learner's language various erroneous features that persist despite what is otherwise a reasonably fluent command of the language. This phenomenon is most saliently manifested phonologically in "foreign accents" in the speech of many of those who have learned a second language after puberty. We also frequently observe syntactic and lexical errors persisting in the speech of those who have learned a language quite well. The relatively permanent incorporation of incorrect linguistic forms into a person's second language competence has been referred to as fossilization."(P. 231)

Objective of the study

The purpose of the present study is to investigate how language teachers care for error correction in oral context and prediction power for teachers.  What types of error they consider to be corrected and what correction techniques they use and the time they find to be appropriate for error correction (immediate, delayed, and postponed) and the ones (teacher, peer, self) who should correct errors.

      It also aims at finding about the learners` attitude toward error correction and what aspects of language (grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary, content) they prefer to be corrected, when and with whom they prefer to be corrected. Regarding these findings, this study aims at finding an answer to the question whether error correction helps learners to develop their interlingual ability? In particular, the present study aims at seeking answers to the following research questions:

1- What types of errors are committed by EFL learners (pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary and content) at different proficiency levels?            

2- Who corrects the errors (teacher, self, peer) at different proficiency levels?

3- What types of errors are preferred to be corrected by teachers  pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary and content) at different proficiency levels?   

4- What language is used to correct errors (L1, L2 or mixed) at different proficiency levels?

 5- When are the errors corrected (immediately, delayed, postponed or ignored) at different proficiency levels?

6- Which method of correction (immediately, delayed, postponed, peer correction and self-correction) is mostly used at different proficiency levels?

7- What is the relationship between learners` proficiency (intermediate or advanced) and types of errors (grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary and content) which are committed by EFL learners?

8- What is the relationship between learners` proficiency (intermediate or advanced) and the person (teacher, self, peer) who corrects the errors?

9- What is the relationship between learners` proficiency (intermediate or advanced) and teacher preferences for correction (grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary or content)?

10- What is the relationship between learners` proficiency (intermediate or advanced) and the language is used for correction (L1, L2 or mixed)?

11- What is the relationship between learners` proficiency (intermediate or advanced) and the timing ((immediately, delayed, postponed or ignored) of correcting errors?

12- What is the relationship between learners` proficiency (intermediate or advanced) and method of correction (immediately, delayed, postponed, peer correction and self-correction)?

 

Significance of the study

The aim of this study is to investigate the EFL learners' types of oral errors and teachers' preferences for correction Language learners often commit different errors in their learning process. Errors play an important role in teaching, which provides teachers with information about how much the learner has learned and the problem the learner is facing in his study of a language with the information, teachers can adjust their teaching plan to make their teaching work more effective. In this paper, the researcher has  gathered errors of EFL students may make in their learning process, with the analysis on these errors, he has found out the common errors which are committed by EFL learners (grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary, content), types of errors which are preferred to be corrected by the teachers (grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary or content) at different proficiency levels also the language which is used to correct errors (L1, L2 or Mixed), and the person who corrects errors (teacher, peer, self) and more the timing of correction (immediate, delayed, postponed, ignored), and the method of correction (immediately, delayed, postponed, peer correction or self-correction) which is used to correct errors at different level of proficiency.      

     The relationship between proficiency (intermediate or advanced) and types of errors (grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary and content), the person (teacher, self, peer) who corrects the errors, timing (immediately, delayed, postponed, ignored) of correction, the language which is used for correction (L1, L2 or mixed). If proficiency (intermediate or advanced) affects teachers` correction (grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary or content) and finally, the method of correction (immediately, delayed, postponed, peer correction or self-correction) have been concerned.

     From the findings, the researchers has presented some significant implications that are important and useful for better teaching for teachers who run EFL classes and better learning for EFL learners.

 

Limitation of the study

The present study was restricted to Iranian teachers and learners of English as a foreign Language at two different levels of language proficiency. Since the participants were native speakers of Farsi, it was difficult to find the number of learners and teachers to get better result.  

 

Literature Review

This chapter states briefly reviews and history of different views on errors and error correction. It also discuses different views of different researchers about whether the learners` errors should be corrected: if so, when, which and how learners` errors should be corrected. Furthermore, It  gives different ideas about who should correct the learners` errors.

 

 

Error and Error Correction

As Lengo (1995) mentioned, "errors have played an important role in the study of language acquisition in general and in examining second and foreign language acquisition in particular. Researchers are interested in errors because they are believed to contain valuable information on the strategies that people use to acquire a language (cited in Richards, 1974; Taylor 1975; Dulay and Burt 1974). Errors are also associated with the strategies that people employ to communicate in a language." (P. 1)

      In the study of second and foreign language learning, errors have been studied to discover the processes learners make use of in learning and using a language.

       Lengo stated errors are believed to be an indicator of the learners` stages in their target language development. From the errors that learners commit, one can determine their level of mastery of the language system. The investigation of errors has thus a double purpose: it is diagnostic and prognostic. It is diagnostic because it can tell us the learner's ,tat de langue(cited in Corder, 1976) 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 learner's current problems.

        Moreover, Rivers (1968) has indicated that "students can learn from their mistakes" because of an "intrinsic programming" which helps learners learn through a trial and error process" (P. 116).

     According to Brown, "it is crucial to make distinction between mistakes and errors, technically two very different phenomena." A mistake refers to a performance error that is either a random guess or a "slip," in that it is a failure to utilize a known system correctly. Native speakers are normally capable of recognizing and correcting such "lapses" of mistakes, which are not the result of a deficiency in competence but the result of some sort of temporary breakdown or imperfection in the process of producing speech. These hesitations, slips of the tongue, random ungrammaticalities, and other performance lapses in native-speaker production also occur in second language speech. Mistakes, when attention is called to them, can be self-corrected."(P. 217)

     Brown continued, "mistakes must be carefully distinguished from errors of a second language learner, idiosyncrasies in the language of the learner that are direct manifestations of a system within which a learner is operating at the time. An error, a noticeable deviation from the adult grammar of a native speaker, reflects the competence of the learner" (P. 217).        

     Dulay, Burt and Krashen (1982) stated that errors are the flawed side of learner speech or writing. They are those parts of conversation or composition that deviate from some selected norm of mature language performance, teachers and mothers who have waged long and patient battle against their students` or children's language errors have come to realize that making errors in an inevitable part of learning. People cannot learn language without first systematically committing errors.

     Corder`s views in this regard have been reiterated in the literature. As cited in Richards, (1971) remarked that errors are significant and of interest to:

1. Linguists, because as Chomsky suggests the study of human language is the most fruitful way of discovering what constitutes human intelligence.

2. Psycholinguists, because by looking at children's speech and comparing it with adult speech, they have been able to examine the nature of mental process that seems to be involved in language.

3. Teachers, because by analyzing learners` errors, they would be able to discover their difficulties and devise a method for comparing them.

Keshavars as cited in Jain, (1974) who also maintained that errors are significant for two reasons:

4. For understanding the process of second language acquisition.

For planning courses incorporating the psychology of second

5. language learning.(p. 45)

   Keshavarz continued, "Jain (1974) defines systematic errors as, "those which show a consistent system, and fall into definable patterns; they are internally principled and free from arbitrariness. They are regarded as rule-governed since they follow the rules of the learner's interlanguage." (P. 49)

     Keshavarz stated (1999) in contrast to errors, 'mistakes' are random deviations, unrelated to any system, and instead representing the same types of performance mistakes that might occur in the speech or writing of native speakers, such as slip of tongue or pen, false start, lack of subject-verb agreement in a long complicated sentence, and the like.

     Keshavarz continued, "A common type of performance mistakes is referred to as "spoonerism" after an eminent dean of Oxford University, William A. Spooner, who often changed initial consonants around when he spoke. For example, instead of "You have missed all my history lectures" he once said, complainingly, to a student who had been absent from his classes, "You have hissed all my mystery lectures."(P. 50)

     Keshavars mentioned that: "mistakes, which are due to non-linguistic factors such as fatigue, strong emotions, memory limitations, lack of concentration, etc., are typically random and can be corrected by the language user if brought to his attention."(P. 50)

 

History of Error and Error Correction

Kelly (2006) in his article stated, "Over the years, there have been a range of approaches to error correction in language teaching and learning. According to the behaviorists, untreated errors would lead to fossilization and therefore required rigid and immediate correction if bad habits were to be avoided (cited in Skinner, 1957). As cited Chomsky (1959) however, approached error from a cognitive point of view, according to which errors are the result of the learner thinking through the process of rule formation. According to Corder (1967), errors provide evidence of progress, while Selinker (1972) argued that errors are a natural part of the learner’s developing interlanguage. Krashen and Terrell (1983) proscribed error correction, since they believed it had no place in a Natural Approach to learning language which should be developed in the same way as children learn their first language. As the Communicative Approach came into vogue, a common position was that errors were not important as long as they did not affect communication (cited in Littlewood, 1981). On a pragmatic level, as cited in Long (1977) suggested that much corrective feedback is erratic, ambiguous, ill-timed and ineffective, while Truscott (1998) maintained that error correction is ineffective and even harmful." (P. 1)

     Hendrickricskson (2000) maintained, "Throughout the 1950s and well into the 1950s, the audiolingual approach to teaching foreign language was in full swing. Language students were supposed to spend many hours memorizing dialogs, manipulating patterns drills, and studying all sorts of grammatical generalization. The assumed or explicit aim of this teaching method could be called "practice makes perfect," presumably some day, when students needed to use a foreign language to communicate with native speakers, they would do so fluently and accurately."(P. 387)

     Hendrickricskson continued, "We now realize that this was not what in most cases occurred. Some highly motivated students from audio-lingual classrooms managed to become fairly proficient in a foreign language, most who could not or did not take the effort to transfer audio-lingual training to communicative use soon forgot the dialog lines, the pattern drills, and the grammatical generalization that they had studied or practiced in school. Put simply, the students had learned what they were taught- and soon forgot most of it."(P. 387)

     He continued, "Not only did many supporters of audiolingualism overestimate learning outcomes for most language students, but some of them regarded second language error from a somewhat puritanical perspective. Language and Language Learning, which became  a manifesto of language teaching profession of the 1960s, as (cited Nelson Brooks, 1960) considered error to have a relationship to learning resembling that of sin to virtue: "Like sin, error is to be avoided and its influence overcome, but its presence is to be expected" (P. 58). Brooks suggested an instructional procedure that would, ostensibly, help language students procedure error-free utterances: "The principal method of avoiding error in language learning is to observe and practice the right model a sufficient number of times; the principal way of overcoming it is to shorten the time lapse between the incorrect response and the presentation once more of the correct model" (P. 58). If students continued to produce errors using this stimulus-response method, inadequate teaching techniques or unsequenced instructional materials were to blame."(P. 387)

     It is interesting to know Larsen-Freeman (2000) gave brief commends on how different teachers responded to students` errors depending on different language teaching methods.

     Freeman stated teachers who used the grammar translation method had the opinion that, "Having the students get the correct answer is considered every important. If students make errors or do not know an answer, the teacher supplies them with the correct answer."(P. 19)

     He continued in the direct method the principle was, "self correction facilitates language learning" and "The teacher, employing various techniques, tries to get students to self-correct whenever possible."(P. 30)

     In the era of audio-lingual method he said, "Student errors are to be avoided if at all possible through the teacher's awareness of where the students will have differently and restriction of what they are taught to say."(P. 47)

     In the time of silent way, Freeman pointed out, "students' errors seen as a natural, indispensable part of the learning process. Errors are inevitable since the students are encouraged to explore the language. The teacher uses student errors as a basis for deciding where further work is necessary.

     The teacher works with the students in getting them to self-correction. Students are not thought to learn much if the teacher merely supplies the correct language. Students need to learn to listen to themselves and to compare their own production with their developing inner criteria. If the students are unable to self-correct and peers can not help, then the teacher would supply the correct language, but only as a last resort."(P. 67)

      Freeman mentioned in desuggestopedia, "Errors are corrected gently, with the teacher using a soft voice."(P. 83)

     In community language learning (CLL), Freeman quoted, "Teachers should work with what the learner has produced in a non-threatening way. One way of doing this is for the teacher to repeat correctly what the student has said incorrectly, without calling further attention to the error. Techniques depend on where the students are in the five stage learning process, but are consistent with sustaining a respectful, no defensive relationship between teacher and students."(P.102)

     Richards and Rodgers (1993) mentioned one of the Finocchiaro and Brumfit (1983) contrast the major distinctive features of the Audio Method and the communicative Approach as, for Audio-lingual  "Language is habit so errors must be prevented at all costs and for Communicative Language Teaching, "Language is created by the individual often through trail and error". For Audio Lingual, "Accuracy, in terms of formal correctness, is a primary goal", but for CLT, "Fluency and acceptable language is the primary goal: accuracy is judged not in the abstract but in context."(P. 68)

     For total physical response (TPR) he reminded that "It is expected that students make errors when first begin speaking. Teachers should be tolerant of them and only correct major errors. Even these should be corrected unobtrusively. As students get more advanced, teachers can ' fine tune' correct more minor errors.

      In communicative language teaching Freeman treated errors as, "Errors of form are tolerated during fluency-based activities and are seen as a natural outcome of the development of communication skills. Students can have limited linguistic knowledge and still be successful communicators, the teacher may note the errors during fluency activities and return to them later with an accuracy-based activity."(P. 132)   

 

Classification of Errors

Dulay, Burt and Krashen (1982) expressed analyses of numerous errors in L2 learners` speech and writing which have revealed systematic distortions of surface elements of the new language:

1. The omission of grammatical morphemes

2. The double marking of a given semantic features

3. The regularization of irregular rules

4. The use of arch forms

5. The alternating use of two or more forms

6. The disordering of items in constructions that require the verbal of word-order rules 

 Lengo referred to Corder`s classification of errors, (1973, 277), "errors fall into four main categories: omission of some required element; addition of some unnecessary or incorrect element; selection of an incorrect element; and misordering of elements." (P. 3)

     Lengo also classified errors into Productive and receptive error, "Errors can also be classified as productive and receptive. Productive errors are those which occur in the language learner's utterance; and receptive or interpretive errors are those which result in learner's misunderstanding of the speaker's intention. Competence in a language can be regarded as composed of productive competence and receptive competence. Those two competencies do not develop at the same rate. It is not uncommon to hear people say that they understand a language better than they can speak it, or vice versa." (P. 8)

     Keshavarz refers to Tarone`s (1981, 286) partial classification of communication strategies as follows:

 

A. Paraphrases

1. Approximation: use of a single language vocabulary item or structure, which the learner knows is not correct, but which shares enough sematic features in common with the desired item to satisfy the speaker's communicative needs (e.g., pipe for water pipe).

2. Word Coinage: The learner makes up a new word in order to communicate a desired concept (e.g. air ball for balloon).

3. Circumlocution: The learner describes the characteristics or elements of an object or action instead of using the appropriate target language item or structure ("She is, uh, smoking something, I don't know what its name is. That's, uh, Persian, and we use in Yurkey, a lot of.").

B. Borrowing

1. Literal Translation: The learner translates word for word from the native language ("Don't be tired." For "Don't work hard.").

2. Language Switch: The learner uses the native language term without bothering to translate (e.g. When I went to Isfehan I bought some /gaz/ (a kind of marshmallow) for my classmates).

C. Appeal for Assistance:

The learner asks for the correct term ("What is this? What called?").

D. Mime:

The learner uses nonverbal strategies or action in place of a lexical item (e.g., clapping one's hands to illustrate 'applause').

E. Avoidance

1.Topic Avoidance: The learner simply tries not to talk about concepts for which the TL item or structure is not known.

2.Message abandonment: The learner begins to talk about a concept, but is unable to continue and stops in mid-utterance.

Keshavarz continued, Tarone`s categories are a good basis for some further comments on communication strategies. Four broad communication strategies outlined by Brown (1987) are as follows:

a. Avoidance

b. Prefabricated Patterns

c. Appeal to Authority

d. Language switch 

      According to Corder, (as cited in Lengo, 1995) "errors fall into four main groups: omission of some required element; addition of some unnecessary or incorrect element; selection of an incorrect element; misordering of elements."(P. 6)

 

Contrastive Analysis and Error Analysis

Brown (2000) stated, "In the middle of the twentieth century, one of the most pursuits for applied linguists was the study two languages in contrast. Eventually the stockpile of comparative and contrastive data on a multitude of pairs of language yielded what commonly came to be known as the Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis (CAH). Deeply rooted in the behaviorist and structuralist approaches of the day, the CAH claimed that the principal barrier to second language system, and that a scientific, structural analysis of the two languages in question would yield a taxonomy of linguistic contrasts between them in turn would enable the linguist to predict the difficulties a learner would encounter."(P. 208)

     Brown continued, "Intuitively the CAH has appeal in that we commonly observe in second language learners a plethora of errors attributable to the negative transfer of the native language to the target language. It is quite common to detect certain foreign accents and to be able to infer, from the speech of learner alone, where the learner comes from. Native English speakers can easily identify the accents of English learners from Germany, France, Spain, and japan. (P. 208)

     Keshavarz (1999) gave the history of contrastive analysis and some comprehensive definition for terms belonging to error analysis.

     He said, "The second World War aroused great interest in foreign language teaching especially in the United States of America where almost unlimited funds and enormous efforts were devoted to working out the most effective and economic methods and techniques of teaching. Since the advocates of Contrastive analysis Hypothesis claimed that the most effective materials for teaching foreign languages would be those based on contrastive studies this discipline was recognized as an important and integrated part of foreign language teaching for quite a long time. In fact Contrastive Analysis was considered as the ultimate panacea for language teaching problems. As a result, a series of contrastive studies began to appear. These studies were essentially pedagogical and aimed at predicting and solving learners` errors and difficulties." (P. 1)

     Keshavarz (1999) continued, on the basis of the foregoing discussion it can be concluded that error analysis is based on three important assumptions as follows:

     1. Errors are inevitable as we cannot learn a language, be it first or second, without goofing, i.e. without committing errors.

     2. Errors are significant in different ways.

     3. Not all errors are attributable to the learner's mother tongue; first language interference is not only source of errors.

Regarding the significance of errors Keshavars wrote, "Many scholars in the field of error analysis have stressed the significance of second language learners` errors. As cited in Corder, (1967), for instance, in his influential article, remarked that…"they are significant in three different ways. First to the teacher, in that they tell him, if he undertakes asystematic analysis, how far towards the goal the learner has progressed and, consequently, what remains for him to learn. Second, they provide to the researcher evidence of how language is learned or acquired, what strategies or procedures the learner is employing in his discovery of the language. Thirdly, they are indispensable to the learner himself, because we can regard the making of errors as advice the learner uses in order to learn. It is a way the learner has for testing his hypotheses about the nature of the language he is learning." (Pp. 44-5)

 

Source of Errors

Corder's model (1981) indicates that, in the case of both overt and covert errors, if a plausible interpretation can be made of the sentence, then one should form a reconstruction of the sentence in the target language, compare the reconstruction with the original idiosyncratic sentence, and then describe the differences. If the native language of the learner is known, the model indicates using translation as a possible indicator of native language interference as the source of error. In some cases, of course, no plausible interpretation is possible at all, and the researcher is left with no analysis of the error (OUT3).(P. 23)

Other Source of Errors are:

Interference from L1

Developmental and Intralingual Errors

Lack of an English Environment

The Students' Lack of Motivation

Bilingual Dictionaries

Transfer of Stylistic and Cultural Elements

Varieties and Styles of English

Students' poor knowledge of English   

Inconsistency of Correction

Ambiguous Techniques of Correction

       Keshavars (1999) also talked about types or errors representing stages of second language learning, "Learners go through different stages of language learning with each having certain characteristics."(P. 52)

    He mentioned, a model of Corder(1973, p. 270-2) and on observation of what the learner does in terms of errors alone, as cited Brown,  (1987, 175-177) proposes four stages of interlanguage development as follows:

     The first is a stage of random errors, a stage which Corder calls 'presystematic' in which the learner is only vaguely aware that there is some systematic order to a particular class of items.

     The second, or emergent, stage of interlanguage finds the learner growing in consistency in linguistic production. The learner has begun to discern a system and to internalize certain rules. These rules may not be "correct" by target language standards, but they are nevertheless legitimate in the mind of the learner.

     The third stage is truly systematic in the sense that the learner is able to manifest more consistency in producing the second language.

     A final stage, which Brown (1987) calls "stabilization stage in the development of interlanguage systems is akin to what Corder (1973) calls a "postsystematic" stage. Here the learner has relatively few errors and has mastered the system to the point that fluency and intended meaning are not problematic. This fourth stage is characterized by learner's ability to self-correct. It is at this point that learners can stabilize too fast, allowing minor errors to slip by undetected and thus manifest fossilization of their language."(P.p 53-4)

     Keshavarz (1999) has also pointed out some sources of errors. He refers to Corder (1975) who distinguishes three types of errors with respect to their sources: (a) Interlingual errors which are caused by first language interference; (b) intralingual errors, i.e. errors caused by learner's generalizing and overgeneralizing particular grammatical rules; and (c) errors caused by faulty teaching techniques.

     Keshavarz said, "Dualy and Burt (1972) categorize second language learners` errors, which they prefer to call 'goofs', as follows:

(a) Interference – like goofs: errors which reflect native language structure, and are not found in L1 acquisition data of the target language.

(b) L1 – Developmental Goofs: Those that do not reflect native language structure, but are found in L1 acquisition data of the target language.

(c) Ambiguous Goofs: Those that can be categorized as 'interference – like goofs' or 'L1 developmental goofs'.

(d) Unique Goofs: Those that do not reflect L1 structure, and also not found in L1 acquisition data of the target language." (P.  )

Keshavars points out a more comprehensive taxonomy of the sources of errors.

I. Interlingual Errors results from the transfer of phonological, morphological, grammatical, lexicon – semantic, and stylistic elements of learner's mother tongue to learning of the target language.

II. Intralingual and Developmental Errors are caused by the mutual interference of items in the target language, i.e. the influence of one target language item upon another. They are divided into the subcategories overgeneralization, ignorance of rule restriction, false analogy, hyperextension, hypercorrection and faulty categorization.

III. Transfer of Training or teacher – induced errors is those which result from pedagogical procedures contained in a text or employed by the teacher. In other words, these errors come about as a result of course design or teaching techniques. A teacher may inadvertently mislead his students by the way he defines a lexical item, or by the order in which he presents teaching materials.

IV. Language-learning Strategies refer to the strategies used by the learner in dealing with the target language. Overgeneralization and transfer of rules from the mother tongue, which were discussed earlier, are two instances of second-language learning strategies as learner makes use of his previously acquired knowledge, be it the knowledge of the mother tongue or target language, in dealing with the present learning task.

A third instance of language-learning strategy is simplification, i.e. the reduction of the target language to a simpler system by the learner in order to reduce the learning burden. This kind of strategy is also employed by monolingual children when they produced telegraphic speech. Simplication is sometimes called 'redundancy reduction', because it eliminates many items which are redundant to conveying the intended message.

       V.   Communication Strategies are used when the learner is forced

To express himself with the limited linguistic resources available to him. In other words, they refer to the learner strategy in bridging the gap between his limited target language linguistic knowledge and communicative needs by using elements which are not linguistically appropriate for the context. That is, the learner wants to communicate at expense of grammatical accuracy. In trying to communicate, a learner may have to make up for a lack of knowledge of grammar or vocabulary by paraphrasing, using gesture and mime, or even borrowing words from his native language.

Error Correction

Keshavarz (1999) gave a short history of error correction and attitudes towards errors. "Over the past few decades there has been a significant change in foreign language methodologies and materials. Similarly, there has been a significant change of attitudes towards students` errors. Throughout the fifties and well into sixties when Contrastive Analysis and Audio-lingual approach to teaching foreign languages were at the peak of their popularity, a rather negative attitude towards errors was prevalent. Some of the well-known scholars during that period regarded second language learners` errors from a somewhat puritanical perspective. As cited in Nelson Brooks, (1960), in his famous book, which became a manifesto of language teaching profession of the 1960s, considered error to have a relationship to learning resembling that of sin to virtue: "Like sin, error is to be avoided and its influence overcome, but its presence is to be expected" (p. 58). Brooks suggested an instructional procedure that would, ostensibly, help language students produce error-free utterance: "The principle method of avoiding error in language learning is to observe and practice the right model a sufficient number of items; the principal way of overcoming it is to shorten the time lapse between the incorrect response and the presentation once more of the correct model." (p. 58)

     Keshavarz (1999) continued, "Such guidelines for the prevention and correction of errors were followed in the preparation of materials for the teaching of foreign languages. For example, in "The teacher's manual for German, Level One", prepared by the Modern Language Materials Development Center (1961), 1961), one finds the advice that "teachers should correct all errors immediately" PP. 3, 17, 21, 26), and that "students be neither required nor permitted to discover and correct their own mistakes," (pp. 28, 32). Similar advice can be found in other audio-lingual manuals and instructional materials. However, with the emergence of error analysis, in the late sixties, as are action to contrastive analysis, and with the wave of research interest in the processes and strategies of first and second language acquisition, and possible similarities between the two, second-language learners` errors gained unprecedented significance. As a result, the negative attitudes held towards errors in the fifties and early sixties changed to a positive one. Errors were no longer considered as evil signs of failure, in teaching and/or learning, to be eradicated at any cost; rather, they were seen as a necessary part of language learning. Alongside the emergence of such theoretical views towards errors, innovative methodologies and materials for teaching foreign language were developed that encourage creative self-expression and not error-free communication. Instead of expecting students to produce flawless sentences in a foreign, many of today's students are encouraged to communicate in the target language things that matter to them. As Chastain (1988, P. 330) suggested, "More important than error – free speech is the creation of an atmosphere in which the students want to talk". Many language educators today propose that foreign language teachers should expect many errors from their students, and should accept those errors as a natural phenomenon integral to the process of learning a second language. When teachers tolerate some errors, students often feel more confident about using the target language than if all their errors are corrected. Teachers of today should be aware of fact generation of teachers before they have employed different methods to get rid of their students' errors, such as punishment, scorn, and ridicule -all in vain- in an attempt to prevent students from making mistakes."(Pp. 128-9)

     He continued, "It should not be implied from the above that errors a hierarchy should be established and adequate and appropriate methods should be employed. Teachers should realize that correction of errors is a very delicate task, and if it is not tackled appropriately it may cause embarrassment and frustration for the learner. This in turn may lead to linguistic insecurity, i.e. the learner will be discouraged to speak out in class/or write freely in the target language. He will be reluctant to do so lest he may reveal his inability in performing in the target language."(P. 129)

      Keshavarz suggested, "The following suggestions are offered for the correction of second language learners` errors:

     (1) The teacher should make sure that an error has been committed before attempting to do something about it. That is, it is possible, especially in large classes where noise can often be considered as a distracter, that the teacher does not hear accurately what the student has said, or he may misinterpret what the students meant.

     (2) The teacher should feel confident and competent about correcting the error. If he is not sure of the correct model or appropriate correction procedures he should refrain from correcting his students. In this case, he should consult those colleagues of his who have a better command of the target language or his authoritative reference books. 

     (3) Since no teacher has time too adequately deal with all the errors made by his students, a hierarchy should be established for the correction of errors according to the nature and significance of errors. In such a hierarchy, priority should be given to errors which may hamper communication and distort comprehensibility, such as errors in the wrong pronunciation of minimal pairs, e.g. pronouncing 'sheep' for 'ship' and vice versa."(Pp, 129-30)

     Keshavarz (1999) continued with regard to timing of error correction, "a student should not be interrupted for his errors; rather errors should be corrected after the classroom activity, e.g. a dialogue or a reading passage is over. The teacher should make a note of the errors during such activities then explain them to the class as a whole, and not directly to the individual who has made the errors. In this way, a more relaxed atmosphere will be created in the classroom whereby the learners would feel free to express themselves in the target language. An approach employed by the author in teaching composition, and was found effective, was to write the common errors on the blackboard and explain them to the class as a whole. Then, students were asked to examine their composition and try to discover their errors. This discovery procedure was followed by classroom exercises on the points with which the students had problem." (P. 133)

Why correct errors?

Kelly mentioned, "Students naturally want the English they produce to be understood, and they usually expect to be corrected (Ur, 2000). Grammar and vocabulary errors, as well as consistently mispronounced sounds may affect their ability to be understood. Students are often aware of the importance of feeling confident that they will be understood, and believe it is the teachers’ job to provide for their communicative needs. Students often don’t know they are making errors, and require feedback from teachers to raise their awareness. According to this view, focus on errors is a good use of some class time as those errors may hinder the successful completion of a classroom task."(P. 2)

 

Which errors should be corrected?

Kelly continued, "According to a communicative philosophy, errors that detract from successful completion of a task or which could lead to misunderstanding should probably be dealt with. Repeated or shared errors are also ones that teachers should consider correcting."(P.2)

 

When should errors be corrected?

He suggested, "One approach is to correct an error at the time of production. However, teachers may want to note errors and deal with them later, either at the end of the task, lesson, day, or in a following lesson. This non-immediate correction can also provide time for the teacher to research efficient and effective practice tasks, and is better than ignoring the error. A key skill is to anticipate possible errors and be prepared. There is also the issue of one student making an error, and whether to stop the class and drill everyone (after all, this could be beneficial to all). This might depend on the task. For instance, in a mix and mingle interaction pattern, the teacher may deal with one student, or alternatively decide not to interfere, particularly if fluency rather than accuracy is the goal of the task. Again, the decision of whether to correct immediately or not may depend on whether the error is causing a misunderstanding. There is no one simple answer to the question of when to correct: it will depend on many interrelated factors including learner sensitivities, learning situation, learning purpose or task type. It is essential for teachers to exercise careful judgment with these factors in mind if error correction is to be useful."(P.2-3)

 

How should errors be corrected?

About the way of correction, he said, "When repeated or shared errors occur, teachers need to provide a model of the correct language to students. Grammar errors might require a review of rules and extra practice exercises, or a variation of the sample task below. Dealing with pronunciation errors might involve minimal pairs, drilling, beating out word or sentence stress, or referring to the phonemic chart. Students may be able to imitate with success, or the teacher may need to provide knowledge of how to make sounds through learner friendly explanations of how the sound is made. The main point here is that teachers don’t need to reinvent the wheel as there are plenty of resources available. They might want to give them to students as references for self-study, or adapt them to suit their particular situation and use them in class. However correction is carried out, it needs to be done with sensitivity to avoid embarrassment and demotivation."(P.3) 

    Tedick (1998) stated that "as cited in Lyster and Ranta, (1997) point out that the research that has focused on the issue of error treatment in second language classrooms in the past 20 years has continued to pose the questions framed by Hendrickson in his 1978 review of feedback on errors in foreign language classrooms. These questions are:

● Should learners’ errors be corrected?

● When should learners’ errors be corrected?

● Which errors should be corrected?

● How should errors be corrected?

● Who should do the correcting?"(P.1)

        Beare (2008), in his article called, "Student correction during class –How and When?" pointed out, "A crucial issue for any teacher is when and how to correct students' English mistakes. Of course, there are a number of types of corrections that teachers are expected to make during the course of any given class. Here are the main types of mistakes that need to be corrected:

* Grammatical mistakes (mistakes of verb tenses, preposition use, etc.)

* Vocabulary mistakes (incorrect collocations, idiomatic phrase usage, etc.)

* Pronunciation mistakes (errors in basic pronunciation, errors in word stressing in sentences, errors in rhythm and pitch)

* Written mistakes (grammar, spelling and vocabulary choice mistakes in written work)" (P.1)

     However, many teachers are taking a third route these days. This third route might be called 'selective correction'. In this case, the teacher decides to correct only certain errors. Which errors will be corrected is usually decided by the objectives of the lesson, or the specific exercise that is being done at that moment. In other words, if students are focusing on simple past irregular forms, then only mistakes in those forms are corrected (i.e., goed, thinked, etc.). Other mistakes, such as mistakes in a future form, or mistakes of collocations (for example: I made my homework) are ignored." (P. 1)

     Finally, "many teachers also choose to correct students after the fact. Teachers take notes on common mistakes that students make. During the follow-up correction session the teacher then presents common mistakes made so that all can benefit from an analysis of which mistakes were made and why." (P. 2)

     Beare (2008) continues, "Why Correction is Necessary". He answers, "Correction is necessary. The argument that students just need to use the language and the rest will come by itself seems rather weak. Students come to us to teach them. If they want only conversation, they will probably inform us - or, they might just go to a chat room on the Internet. Obviously students need to be corrected as part of the learning experience. However, students also need to be encouraged to use the language. It is true that correcting students while they are trying their best to use the language can often discourage them. The most satisfactory solution of all is make correction an activity. Correction can be used as a follow-up to any given class activity." (P. 3)

      However, "correction sessions can be used as a valid activity in and of themselves. In other words, teachers can set up an activity during which each mistake (or a specific type of mistake) will be corrected. Students know that the activity is going to focus on correction, and accept that fact. However, these activities should be kept in balance with other, more free-form, activities which give students the opportunity to express themselves without having to worry about being corrected every other word.

     Finally, other techniques should be used to make correction not only part of the lesson, but also a more effective learning tool for the students. These techniques include:

? Deferring correction to the end of an activity

? Taking notes on typical mistakes made by many students

? Correcting only one type of error

? Giving students clues to the type of error they are making (in written work) but allowing them to correct the mistakes themselves." (P. 3)

      The following quotation reveal, Linse's (2005) view toward correction of young learners' errors: "I don't response to all the errors in my classroom. I think that responding to too many errors can discourage children from communicating and talking. I am also very cautious in how I respond to errors since I know that embarrassment and shame are two of the things that can be potentially damaging to young learners" (P. 61).

Researches Done on Error Analysis    

To the extent of this researchers' knowledge little research has been done in Iran regarding errors and error correction.

   Rostami and Shariati (2003) examined the errors and error treatment handled by Iranian EFL teachers and learners, and if the error treatment had effect on learners. They also were to find the main sources of reoccurrence of errors.

They found that correction was not consistent and some techniques of correction were ambiguous. Methods of correction such as immediate correction, peer correction, self-correction and postponed correction do not seem practical for EFL learners. Delay correction might be better but there is not enough support in the study for the correction that the application of this method of correction decreased the learners` errors.

     They also came to the conclusion that both perception and observation data showed that the students could not uptake correction to the next phases and error correction does not play an important role in eradicating learners` errors.

     Concerning the main sources of the reoccurrence of errors they gave a comprehensive list such as anxiety, lack of a language environment, transfer of training, and the students` poor knowledge of English.

 Inconsistent correction and vague techniques of correction could be the other reasons for ineffectiveness of correction.    

     The following abstract is based on error correction done in Azad university of Shiraz by Iranmanesh (2006-2007):

     Iranmanesh stated, "Error correction has so far been dealt with in teaching English as a foreign language. Generally the role of this issue has been restricted to teachers; however, a new wave of research has started to seek learner's opinions towards error correction. The process of error occurrence is inevitable in learning a language and knowing how to deal with it and how to provide appropriate feedback has always been the subject of investigation. The present study seeks to fund out the role of error correction in EFL classroom and how much teachers care for error correction in oral context and what types of errors they consider to be corrected and what methods of correction they use. It also aims at finding about the learner's attitude towards error correction. It tries to investigate how best errors can be treated. It deals primarily with pedagogical applications for error analysis and error correction and is addressed to foreign and second language teachers." (P. 2)

     Mirhassani, (2003) has focused on sounds and parts of speech in two languages and his aim is to help students who major in translation to see the differences and similarities and be on guard when they translate from one language to the other.

     Mote, Silva, Johnson, and Sethy (2004) in their research detected that

The Tactical Language Training System (TLTS) is a speech-enabled computer learning environment designed to teach Arabic spoken communication to American English speakers (and is described in a companion paper (Johnson et al, 2004)). This paper elaborates upon the modeling and detection of learner speech errors along multiple levels of linguistic details ranging from segmental to lexico-semantic aspects. Detecting learner errors enables providing tailored pedagogical feedback in TLTS.

        Eliza and Lilian(2004) examined the errors committed by second  language  learners  in  English  essay  writing  based  on  eight selected  grammatical items and makes commendations to improve English writing skills in Malaysia. While errors were once regarded with contempt and looked upon as something to be avoided at all cost, they are now perceived to represent stages of language acquisition. The objectives of this paper are to identify and classify comprehensible and incomprehensible errors committed by the respondents, and attempt to explain the probable causes of such errors. Analyses of data revealed that most of the errors committed by the respondents were comprehensible ones. With reference to the selected grammatical items, the analysis established that respondents faced particular difficulty in the use of verbs, prepositions and spellings. The research further showed that the errors committed by the respondents were due to over-generalization and simplification. The paper thus recommends the incorporation of explicit grammar instructions in the teaching of English as a second language in order to improve grammatical competence in English writing.

     According to Freeman (1997), recent interest in consciousness and the mind-brain problem has been fueled by technological advances in brain imaging and computer modeling in artificial intelligence: Can machines be conscious? The machine metaphor originated in Cartesian "reflections" and culminated in 19th century reflexology modeled on Newtonian optics. It replaced the Aquinian view of mind, which was focused on the emergence of intentionality within the body, with control of output by input through brain dynamics. The state variables for neural activity were identified successively with animal spirits, élan vital, electricity, energy, information, and, most recently, Heisenbergian potential. The source of dynamic structure in brains was conceived to lie outside brains in genetic and environmental determinism. An alternative view has grown in the 20th century from roots in American Pragmatists, particularly John Dewey, and European philosophers, particularly Heidegger and Piaget, by which brains are intrinsically unstable and continually create themselves. This view has new support from neurobiological studies in properties of self-organizing nonlinear dynamic systems. Intentional behavior can only be understood in relation to the chaotic patterns of neural activity that produce it. The machine metaphor remains, but the machine is seen as self determining.

     In his paper, Kelly (2006) outlined some of the approaches to error correction which have been in vogue over the years, before asking some key questions: why do students make errors, should errors be corrected, which errors require correction, when should correction be undertaken, and how should corrective feedback be carried out? Possible answers are suggested for these important questions, and a sample error correction task is provided which teachers might use as a model for corrective feedback in their own classrooms.

      According to Charlotte (1975) speech errors have been used in the construction of production models of the phonological and semantic components of private insight into how speakers plan discourse and syntactic structure. Different types of discourse exhibit different types of error. The present data are taken from preparing family dinners and dinner parties, getting the family off to work, the organization of a baby-sitting pool, and the layouts of apartments. There are almost no homological errors, and few syntactic errors, the most common type of corrections are of semantic errors or errors of discourse ordering. Four major types of semantic errors are discussed: (10 semantic errors involving the correction of potential ambiguity, if both interpretations would be plausible in the context; (2) the correction of the level of lexical specificity: (3) the correction of memory or face: (4) the correction of ordering of the discourse components, which provides crucial insights into the process of planning discourses. Cases not marked as errors by speakers, but which current syntactic models do not consider well-formed sentences are also discussed.  

 

Methodology

Participants

Two groups of participants were involved in this study. The first group included 165 English learners of Simin English language institute in Kerman. The learners were chosen from two different learners` proficiency (100 intermediate and 65 advanced). Rational behind the selection of two groups was to investigate the types of errors EFL learners made and the way they were corrected in different levels of proficiency. They were chosen based on the level of their knowledge and their books defined and classified by the author of the books for level of proficiency. In order to have more homogeneous subjects, the researcher tried to choose only one kind of book which is called "New Interchange, third edition).

     The following features characterized subjects of the study:

First, The learners who were from two groups of proficiency (100 intermediate learners and 65 advanced learners)

1. With regard to nationality and language background, no difference existed between the subjects: all were Iranians and their mother tongue was Persian.

2. They were males and females.

3. The subjects` range of age was between 15 to 30

4. None of the subjects had lived in any English speaking country.

 Second, the other group had 55 teachers from different institutes. Some teachers had some experience of teaching different levels of proficiency and some had only one level, regarding the fact that they had dealt with more learners and consequently more errors and more methods of error correction they applied during their teaching career.

     The following features characterized the selected teachers of the study:

1. All of them had experience 10 of years teaching English.

2. Their range of age was not considered.

3. They all had the same nationality and language background; they were Iranians and their mother tongue was Persian.

4. Teachers were female and male.

5. They all had B.A degree or above in English (literature or teaching).

 

Instruments

The instruments of the study were two sets of questionnaires, adapted from two different error correction questionnaires (see appendix), which were used  by Beech (1995), Pladejo (1993), and Rastami (1997) for the purpose of asking learners` preferences for error correction and the teachers` opinion on error correction. The contents of the questionnaires were not exactly the same (teachers` questionnaire had 14 questions but learners` questionnaires had 7 questions) which ask both the learners and teachers` attitude with regard to 'how', 'when', 'which', and 'who' of error correction.

The instruments for the study were as follows:           

 

Questionnaires

         a. Teachers`

         b. Learners`

a. Teachers` questionnaire: The questionnaire comprising 18 questions was administrated in English, distributed to 55 EFL teachers (see appendix).

     It consisted of questions focusing on the following main points:

1- What types of errors are committed by EFL students (pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar and content) at different proficiency levels (intermediate or advanced)?            

2- Who corrects the errors (teacher, self or peer) at different proficiency levels (intermediate or advanced)?

3- Which errors are preferred to be corrected by teachers (pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar and content) at different proficiency levels (intermediate or advanced)? 

4- What language is used by teachers to correct errors (L1, L2 or mixed) at different proficiency levels (intermediate or advanced)?

 5- When are the errors corrected (immediately, delayed, postponed or ignored) at different proficiency levels (intermediate or advanced)?

6- Which method of correction (immediately, delayed, postponed, self-correction and peer correction) is mostly used at different proficiency levels (intermediate or advanced)?

7- In communication, how often do EFL learners refer to their mother tongue (i.e. first translate to Farsi) and then to English to answer?

8- Which method of correction is mostly used in your class?

(Immediate, Delayed, Postponed, Peer correction,) Self-correction)        

9- In which level does the error correction mostly occur (elementary level, intermediate level or advanced level)?

10- Regarding learners` oral production, which of the following grammatical errors do you most often correct) Misuse of prepositions, Misuse of articles, Sub-verb agreement, Wrong verb tense and others)? 

11- According to your experience, what is the main source of errors committed by the Iranian EFL learners?

 )Interlingual errors, Intralingual errors, Incomplete application of rules, Ignorance of rule restriction or others)

12- In your opinion, in what area of language, do Iranian EFL learners most need help (Communication, Grammar, Pronunciation, Vocabulary, and Content)?

13- How often do you ignore errors due to fluency (Always, often, sometimes, or rarely)?

b. Learners` questionnaire: The questionnaire comprising 7 questions

 Which was designed into two sets with the same questions? The first seven question questionnaire for the intermediate learners and the second set question questionnaire was for the advanced learners to be answered according to the learners' preferences for error correction. The questionnaires had been administrated to the participants in two instructions and clarification in English and Persian to avoid misunderstanding and to make sure that nothing was left vague, so that they could answer deliberately.

      The questionnaires were distributed to 165 EFL learners (100 intermediate and 65 advanced) (see appendix).      

      It consisted of questions focusing on the following main points:            

1- What types of errors are committed in your classes (pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, and content)?

2-Who corrects learners` errors in your classes (teacher, peer, self)?

3- Which errors are corrected by teachers in your classes (pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary and content)?

4- What language is used to correct errors in your classes (L1, L2, and mixed)?

5- When are the errors corrected in your classes (immediate, delayed, postponed, and ignored)? 

6- Which method of correction is mostly used in your classes (immediate, delayed, postponed, peer correction and self-correction)?

7- In communication, how often do you refer to your mother tongue (i.e. first translate to Farsi) and then to English to answer? (Always, often, sometimes and rarely)  

 

Interview

        a. Teachers

        b. Learners

a. Learners` Interview of 10 EFL teachers in some English Institutes in Kerman and each teacher's interview took 40 to 60 minutes.

The main questions were based on the following questions:

1- What types of errors are committed by EFL students (grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary and content) at different proficiency levels?            

2- Who corrects the errors (teacher, self or peer) at different proficiency levels?

3- What types of errors are preferred to be corrected by teachers (grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary and content) at different proficiency levels? 

4- What language is used by to correct errors (L1, L2 or mixed) at different proficiency levels?

 5- When are the errors corrected (immediately, delayed, postponed and ignored) at different proficiency levels?

6- Which method of correction (immediately, delayed, postponed, self-correction and peer correction) is mostly used at different proficiency levels?

7- In communication, how often do EFL learners refer to their mother tongue (i.e. first translate to Farsi) and then to English to answer?

b. Teachers` Interview of 10 EFL learners from some English Institute in Kerman and each learner's interview took 30 to 45 minutes. The students, interviews   were mainly based on the students` questionnaire and so they were with the teachers` ones.

The main questions were based on the following questions:

1- What types of errors are committed in your classes (pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, and content)?

2-Who corrects learners` errors in your classes (teacher, peer and self)?

3- Which errors are corrected by teachers in your classes (pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, and content)?

4- What language is used to correct errors in your classes (L1, L2, and mixed)?

5- When the errors are corrected in your classes (immediate by teacher, delayed, postponed, and ignored)?

6- Which method of correction is mostly used in your classes (immediate, delayed, postponed, peer correction and self-correction)?  

7- In communication, how often do you refer to your mother tongue) i.e. first translate to Farsi) and then to English to answer (always, often, sometimes, rarely)?

        Interviews enabled the investigator to collect data which is difficult to collect through the medium of questionnaires and classroom observation. Because interviews allowed direct interaction, they complemented questionnaires and classroom observations, serving as means for further investigation of points which might not have been covered.

     To carry out and to analyze the interviews was quite time consuming, to conduct them properly with the informant, certain awareness was required by the interviewer.

     Besides, interviews not only depend on the quality of the questions asked, but on the awareness of, and control over the interaction involved.

So, the informants might come up with different points and ideas which were not foreseen by the investigators whilst developing and validating the questionnaire.

     Interviews also allowed the investigator to elaborate on points which may be ambiguous in the questionnaires.

     The EFL teachers were asked to express their opinions about types of error committed by EFL learners.

There was a combination of different answers.

Regarding the area of language which is most problematic for Iranian EFL learners, they mentioned that the variety of responses:

Nine responded the problematic areas of English as below:

1- Communication

2- Prepositions

3- Pronunciation

4- Listening comprehension

5- Word order

6- Articles

7- Pronouns

8- Verbs

9- Tense

     As the interviews were relatively opened and all of them were taped and transcribed, producing of 60 pages, then they were analyzed question by question. Although the aim of the analysis was to answer all the research questions, there was more emphasis on the following key aspects:                                                                                                   

1- How language teachers care for error correction in oral context and       prediction power for teachers.

2- What types of error they consider to be corrected 

3- What correction techniques they use 

4- The time they find to be appropriate for error correction                        (immediate, delayed and postponed) and the ones (teacher, peer and        self) who should correct errors.                       

     It also aimed at finding about the learner's attitude toward error correction and the aspects of language (grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary and content) they preferred to be corrected at and when and with whom they preferred to be corrected. Regarding these findings, this study aimed at finding an answer to the question that whether error correction helped learners to develop their interlingual or not? If it helped then, why did errors recur even after correction and feedback had been provided? Finally, it tended to investigate a logical and theoretical upon which second language teacher could provide the learners with repair and recast feedback.

                                                                                     

Classroom Observation

The classroom observation section of the study involved observing and tape recording of the study involving and tape recording six EFL classes in Kerman Institute, 25 to 30 students per group.

Each class was an hour and a half hour in duration.

The classes were selected for two levels of proficiency three classes were in intermediate level and three classes were in advanced level. The criteria for the level of the classes were promenaded by the teacher and the books from the institute.                                                                    

     Those classes were selected in which the students had to interact more. The researcher taped 12 hours of classroom interaction and took up 30 hours to transcribe them accurately.  

                                                                   

Data Collection and Analysis Procedure:

The data for the presents study were collected through the administration of the two instruments among the participants during two semesters; summer and autumn to accumulate the required number of data. The subjects` responses to the questions were analyzed according the following hypotheses. The first is; if there is a significant difference between mean of teachers` responses and the learners` responses. The second one is if there is a relation or dependence among certain questions. The third one is the relationship between the learner's responses and teachers` responses for intermediate and advanced learners. Chi-square test was used to test these three hypotheses.