The Concept of Error, Its Types and Sources

Essay details

Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.

Table of Contents

  • The Types Error
  • Surface Strategy Taxonomy
  • The Sources of Error
  • The Concept of Error Analysis

Error is quite different to mistake, it is as a fault in learning second or foreign language. Second or foreign language students not only make mistake, they have only an incomplete knowledge of the target language, and they are not always able to correct the mistakes that they make that is called by error. It is supported by Ellis (1997) who expresses that errors are the gaps in a learner’s knowledge; they occur when the learner does not know what the correct one is, while mistakes reflect occasional lapses in performance; they occur when the learner is unable to perform what he or she knows. In other words, errors require further relevant learning to take place before they can correct the errors by themselves. According to James, an error cannot be self-corrected, while mistakes can be self-corrected by the speakers. The learners are not aware of making the errors because they do not know correct form. In other words, errors require further relevant learning to take place before they can correct the errors by themselves. Thus, the learners’ errors reflect a lack of underlying competence in the language that they are learning. In summary, error is a flaw that is done by students in learning second or foreign language which shows how far students’ understanding in the material.

Essay due? We'll write it for you!

Any subject

Min. 3-hour delivery

Pay if satisfied

Get your price

The Types Error

Chomsky claims that grammatical sequences in terms of separate component that could comprise a sentence is called by surface structure.

To analyze types of grammatical cohesion error, surface strategy taxonomy was used. Dulay, Burth and Krashen (1982) describe the types 8of errors into four classifications. They are linguistic category, surface strategy taxonomy, comparative analysis, and communicative effect. Discussion of these descriptive taxonomies is guided by two major purposes first, to present error categories which rely solely on observable characteristics for their definition. Second, to report the findings of research conducted to date with respect to error types observed. However, the writer only focuses on surface strategy taxonomy because these types of errors give more contributions to this research than other types of errors.

Surface Strategy Taxonomy

Surface strategy taxonomy highlights the ways surface structures are altered. Learners may omit necessary items or add unnecessary one. They may misform items or misorder them. Analyzing errors from a surface strategy perspective holds much promise for researcher concerned with identifying cognitive processes that underlie learner’s reconstruction of the new language. It also makes aware that learner’s errors are some logic. The types of these categories as follow.

  1. Omission
  2. Omission errors are characterized by the absence of an item that must appear in well-formed utterances. Content morphemes carry the referential meaning of a sentence (nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs). For example: once upon a time, there lived a girl named snow white. She lived with her aunt and uncle because parents died. (Omission of possessive adjective “her” before parents died)

  3. Addition
  4. Addition errors are the opposite of omission. They are characterized by the presence of an item which must not appear in a well-formed utterance. It usually occurs in the later stages of second language acquisition. For example: that is the man who I saw him (addition of object him).

  5. Misformation
  6. Misformation errors are characterized by the use of the wrong form of the morpheme or the structure. While in omission errors, the item is not supplied at all. In misformation error, the learner supplies something, although it is incorrect. Example: one day, an invitation to the ball comed (the main verb comed should be came).

  7. Misordering
  8. Misordering errors are characterized by the incorrect placement of a morpheme or group of morphemes in an utterance. Example: so, after the school, Pinocchio decided to go to the city. He asked someone the ingredients to bake a cake. During his walk, Pinocchio met there a little boy (The placement of adverbial demonstrative “there” should be Pinocchio met a little boy there).

The Sources of Error

Error comes from several possible general factors or sources. Endorgan argues that students do many kinds of different errors and they cannot be ignored and ask for sources of errors. In other word, the sources of errors made by learners come from different factors. In line with this, Brown (2007) describes two main sources of errors. First, interlingualtransfer is a significant source of error for all learners. Besides, Richard and Schmidt (2010) define interlingual errors as being the result of language transfer, which is caused by the learner’s first language. However, this should not be confused with behavioristic approach of language transfer. Error analysis does not regard them as the persistence of old habits, but rather as signs that the learner is internalizing and investigating the system of the new language. Interlingual errors may occur at different levels such as transfer of phonological, morphological, grammatical and lexica-semantic elements of the native language into the target language. In short, interlingual error is error from first language learners when they transfer language to the target language. The other source is intralingual errors; it is resulted from faulty or partial learning of the target language rather than language transfer. According to Brown (2007), “intralingual transfer (within the target language itself) is a major factor in second language learning”. They may be caused by the influence of one target language item upon another. For example, learners attempt to use two tense markers at the same time in one sentence since they have not mastered the language yet. When they say: “He is comes here”, it is because the singularity of the third person requires “is” in present continuous, and “-s” at the end of a verb in simple present tense. In short, intralingual errors occur as a result of learners’ attempt to build up concepts and hypotheses about the target language from their limited experience with it. Learners may commit errors due to this reason in many ways as in the following examples: He made me to smile. I want learning English. The meat smells freshly. Thus, error in second and foreign language is classified by source and target language

The Concept of Error Analysis

Error analysis is as a process to analyze errors that make by students. Producing error can be perceived as a normal part of learning anything especially something as complex as a language, particularly, a foreign language. Error analysis is type of approach to analyze a second/ foreign language learners’ speech or written performance. Corder and Brown both highlights in studying second or foreign language, students’ errors are important to study it show the state of the learners’ knowledge. Error analysis are not something to be eradicated, but rather can be important in and of themselves. Error analysis is errors that can be observed, analyzed, and classified to reveal something of the system operating within the learner, led to surge of the study of learners’ errors. Positively, error analysis is needed in English teaching to investigate and measure how long students’ understandings are.

Get quality help now


Verified writer

Proficient in: Language and Linguistics, Experience

4.8 (345 reviews)
“Writer-Justin was a very nice and great writer. He asked questioned as necessary to perform the job at the highest level. ”

+75 relevant experts are online

More Essay Samples on Topic

banner clock
Clock is ticking and inspiration doesn't come?
We`ll do boring work for you. No plagiarism guarantee. Deadline from 3 hours.

We use cookies to offer you the best experience. By continuing, we’ll assume you agree with our Cookies policy.