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GRAMMATICAL ERRORS IN THE COMPOSITIONS OF THE SECOND YEAR STUDENTS OF THE ENGLISH DEPARTMENT OF FKIP-UKI JAKARTA

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									 GRAMMATICAL ERRORS IN THE COMPOSITIONS OF THE SECOND YEAR
   STUDENTS OF THE ENGLISH DEPARTMENT OF FKIP-UKI JAKARTA


                                    Parlindungan Pardede
                                Universitas Kristen Indonesia



Abstract
     This study was carried out to analyze grammatical errors committed by the fourth-
semester students of the English Department of FKIP-UKI Jakarta in their composition. To
achieve the objective, 25 paragraphs written by 25 students attending the class of Writing I
in the 2005/2006 Academic Year were taken as the corpus of the study. These paragraphs
were thoroughly examined to identify any morphological and syntactical errors made in
them. Using Politzer and Ramirez‟s Linguistic Category Taxonomy, each error was then
analyzed to determine its type and cause.
     The results of the analysis revealed 306 grammatical errors identified in 114 sentences.
Based on the data analysis and calculation, it was found that the greatest number of all error
types was Noun Phrase (NP) errors. The amount of this type of errors was 148 (48 %). The
second major type of error was those included in Verb Phrase (VP) errors (76 items or 25
%). It was then followed by Word Order (WO) errors (22 items or 7 %) in the third place
and Verb-and-Verb Construction (VVC) errors (14 or 5 %) in the fourth. Successively, these
four major types of errors were followed by Past Participle Incorrect (PPI) errors (12 or 4
%); Some Transformation (ST) errors (12 or 4 %), Possessive Case Incorrect (PCI) errors (6
or 2 %); Simple Past Tense Incorrect (SPTI) errors (5 or 2 %); Indefinite Article Incorrect
(IAI) errors (4 or 1 %); Comparative Adjective/Adverb Incorrect (CAI) errors (4 or 1 %);
and Third Person Singular Verb Incorrect (TPSV) errors (3 or 1 %). The errors were caused
by two factors, i.e. inference from Indonesian and intralingual transfer within English.
     These findings indicated that the students‟ competence to write grammatically correct
sentences in English was quite low. Therefore, lecturers of writing need to focus activities in
writing classes to improve students‟ skill in writing grammatical sentences.
Key Words: grammar, writing, errors, error-analysis, error taxonomy.


A. INTRODUCTION

Background of the Problems

     Entering the global era, the use of English as the major means of international

communication grows rapidly. Wikipedia (2008) notes that although English is not an

official language in most countries, it is currently the language most often taught as a second


                                                                                            1
or foreign language around the world. In the European Union, English is the language most

often studied as a foreign language (by 89% of schoolchildren), followed by French (32%),

German (18%), and Spanish (8%). Among non-English speaking countries, a large

percentage of the population claimed to be able to converse in English in the Netherlands

(87%), Sweden (85%), Denmark (83%), Luxembourg (66%), Finland (60%), Slovenia

(56%), Austria (53%), Belgium (52%), and Germany (51%). Norway and Iceland also have

a large majority of competent English-speakers, and 100% of the younger generations in the

aforementioned countries are competent in English. It is also, by international treaty, the

official language for aerial and maritime communications, as well as one of the official

languages of the European Union, the United Nations, and most international athletic

organizations, including the International Olympic Committee. In addition, Books,

magazines, and newspapers written in English are available in many countries around the

world. English is also the most commonly used language in the sciences. In 1997, the

Science Citation Index reported that 95% of its articles were written in English, even though

only half of them came from authors in English-speaking countries.

     Due to its increasing use as the first global language, English proficiency is not only an

advantage but also a must for someone to apply for a job. One‟s failure to master it will

make him unable to compete in the global era. That‟s why English courses mushroom and

the kinds of course-material offered become more varied in order to meet people‟s diverse

needs. English for Daily Communication, English for Secretary, and English for Business

are some of the common courses offered nowadays. Moreover, the course-levels offered

have been widely diversified. Young children, teenagers, adults, and senior citizens can now

attend classes designed for their own age.

                                                                                            2
     In order to increase Indonesian students‟ mastery of English, since 1994 English has

been made a compulsory subject at any level of schools. In the practice of the teaching,

students are taught the four language skills—listening, speaking, reading and writing—and

the language system—sound structure and vocabulary. By mastering these elements,

students are expected to be able to integrate them in communication acts.

     My several years observation on the English proficiency of the freshmen of the English

Department of FKIP-UKI revealed that among the four language skills, writing seems the

most difficult to master for students. When they were asked to converse in English or to read

English texts, they could perform them (though in a great variety level of proficiency). But

when they were assigned to express their idea in writing, the majority became at a lost. This

phenomenon indicated that the secondary school graduates‟ standards of achievement in

English composition were low. According to Tongue (1997: 3) the low achievement was

due to the fact that the structures and vocabulary occasionally taught to the secondary school

students do not, as a rule, belong to the same language registers and styles as those found in

the prose for exciting narrative, elegant or humorous description, or reasoned discussion.

       Another possible reason for the low achievement in writing was possibly the fact that

writing is a very complex process due to the many skills involved and the many activities to

be carried out. The skills involved in writing cover the application of correct grammatical

rules, choosing exact diction, using proper punctuations, and organizing ideas into

appropriate sentences, paragraphs and passage. The activities to be performed in writing are:

brainstorming and researching to generate ideas, outlining the ideas, drafting, reviewing,

editing and final writing.




                                                                                             3
       Realizing the complex nature of writing in English, to master it, one should

intensively learn and practice it in a relatively long period of time. Thus, to enable

Indonesian students to write well in English, they should be taught it as early as possible.

They should probably learn and practice it since the first time they are able to use writing

symbol in primary school until they attend university.

       This study deals with the application of correct grammatical rules in writing. This

factor was chosen the focus of study because, the present writer‟s informal observation

result indicated that many students‟ compositions were difficult to comprehend due to the

extensive grammatical errors found in them. Such errors should certainly be avoided

because they made the ideas or messages unclear. However, to avoid such errors in writing

necessitates accurate information about the background, types, and causes of the error made.

Such information could be obtained by identifying the errors made by students in their

compositions. Then, the result of the identification could be used as a good feedback to

determine procedures for avoiding the same errors in the next writing.



Problems Identification

     Based on the discussion in the background section above, the present writer identified

the following problems:

1. Students could not write well in English because they did not master the grammatical

   rules necessitated to write correct sentences.

2. Students lacked of the skills to organize ideas into appropriate compositions.

3. Students found it difficult to use correct diction in their compositions.

4. Students lacked of the skills to use correct punctuations in their writings.

                                                                                         4
Problems Limitation

     Due to the fact that grammatical errors seems to be very dominant in students‟

composition, the problem of this study was limited to the analysis on the grammatical errors

committed by the fourth-semester students of the English Department of FKIP-UKI Jakarta

in their composition.



Problems Formulation

       Based on the discussion in the sections of background, problems identification,

problems limitation above, the problems of this study were formulated as follow:

1. What types of grammatical errors were committed by the fourth-semester students of the

   English Department of FKIP-UKI Jakarta in their composition?

2. What caused the appearance of these grammatical errors?



Objectives of the Study

     This study was carried out to gain information about types and causes of grammatical

errors committed by the fourth-semester students of the English Department of FKIP-UKI

Jakarta in their composition.



Significance of the Study

     The findings of this study could be used as a feedback for readers, especially teachers

and students involved in the teaching of English composition the English Department of

FKIP-UKI Jakarta and other teacher preparation colleges as well.




                                                                                         5
B. THEORETICAL BASIS AND CONCEPTUAL FRAME WORK

Language Errors

     Language errors can be defined as any deviation from the rules of language use which

reflects imperfect mastery of the language. Brians (2007) defines it as “deviations from the

standard use of English as judged by sophisticated users such as professional writers,

editors, teachers, and literate executives and personnel officers.” In parallel with this, Dulay,

et.al. (1982: 138) language errors as parts of conversation or composition that deviate from

some selected norm of mature language performance.

       Either a native speaker or a language learner can commit mistakes. The only

difference between them is that the native speaker does it due to fatigue, inattention, stress,

or tiredness, while the language learner does it because of imperfect mastery of the

language. In relation to that, the native speaker can correct the mistake he made if he were

given chance to do so, whereas the language learner is unable to do the same for he has not

mastered the rules of using the language. That is why the term „error‟ is also defined as “the

systematic deviations due to the learner‟s still developing knowledge of the second language

rule system” (Dulay et.al., 1982: 138)

Errors Analysis

     Language learning, like any other human learning, such as learning to swim, to ride

bike, or to play tennis, is fundamentally a process that involves the making of mistakes.

When one jumps into the water to learn to swim, he initially finds it difficult to use his arms

and legs to keep floating. But through continuous learning and practice he will discover the

best combination of movements to keep himself afloat and propelling through the water. Just

like learning to swim, in the initial stages of language learning a person makes a lot of

                                                                                              6
mistakes since he has very limited linguistic system within which the language operates. But

the mistakes gradually diminish as he gets feedback from his environment and learns from

making the mistakes he has made.

     Based on the discussion above, it is obvious that the occurrence of errors in a second or

foreign language learning is not only natural but also positive. Language learner‟s errors can

be used as a means of knowing how language is learnt or acquired. Based on such

knowledge, afterwards, language teaching methodology can be developed. Corder (1981:

10-11) emphasizes: “A learner‟s errors … are significant in [that] they provide evidence of

how language is learnt or acquired, what strategies or procedures the learner is employing in

the discovery of the language.” In addition, Corder (1973: 265) states that studying students‟

errors also has immediate practical applications for foreign language teachers because these

errors provide natural and immediate feedback to improve their teaching.

     To provide maximum benefits, students‟ errors should be initially analyzed in order to

see what kind of errors are committed the most and why students produce them. To analyze

errors properly, someone must understand the nature and procedure of error analysis. Ellis

(1988: 10) proposes that error analysis “involves the collection of samples of classroom

learner-language, the classification of errors according to the different levels of language

description, the explanation of errors by reference to various learning process and the

evaluation of errors for the purposes of assessment or remediation.”

Methodology of Errors Analysis

     Errors Analysis is a work procedure with certain steps or stages to fulfill. These steps

are what we call as methodology of error analysis. According to Ellis (1985, 51-52), there

are five steps to be taken in an error analysis. First, selecting a corpus of language, including

                                                                                              7
the activities of deciding the size of the sample, the data to be sampled, and the homogeneity

of the sample. Second, identifying the errors in the corpus by searching any parts of the

expressions in the corpus that deviate from the language rules. Third, categorizing the errors

by classifying them into groups formed based on proper criteria. Fourth, explaining the

errors using the psycholinguistic cause of the errors. Fifth, evaluating the errors which

involve an assessment of the seriousness of each error in order to take accurate decisions for

reducing and even preventing the same errors repeated in the future.

     Observing the working-procedures above, it can be concluded that the final purpose of

error analysis is to get feedback to form a starting point for handling language teaching

remedy. The remedy, in turn, can prevent or reduce errors possibly being committed by

learners.

Source of Errors

     Language errors are naturally committed by someone in a bilingual situation due to

four major factors (Brown, 1980: 173-178). The first source of error is the fact that the

beginning stages of learning a second language are characterized by interlingual transfer

from the native language, or inference, or using first language system in second language

communication which is different from the system of the second language. For instance, it‟s

quite common to hear English learners say /sp/ for „ship‟, the bag of Tom instead of Tom‟s

bag. All these errors are attributable to negative interlingual transfer.

       The second source of error is intralingual transfer, or, the negative transfer of

items within the target language, or, in other way, the incorrect generalization of rules

within the target language itself is a major factor of errors in second language learning.

This source of error shows that the learner of target language is attempting to build up

                                                                                           8
theories or hypotheses about the target language from his limited experience of it in the

classroom or textbook. This kind of transfer can be found in such utterances as Does

Jack can do it?, She writed a letter, and I don't know where is he.

       The third major source of error is the context of learning. Context refers, for

example, to the classroom with its teacher its materials in the case of school learning, or

the social situation in the case of untutored second language learning. In a classroom

context the teacher or the textbook can lead the learner to make faulty hypotheses about

the language, what Richards (1974: 179) called "false concepts" and what Corder (1981:

131) termed "induced errors". Students often make errors because of poor teaching in the

target language; for example, look at and look out are presented contiguously by their

teacher.

       The fourth major source of error can be found in different communication

strategies used by the learner to get a message across to a hearer. Learners obviously use

production strategies in order to enhance getting their messages across. It is possible, for

example, a Second Language (ESL) learner say, "He works hard for the well done of his

family". While the utterance showed a nice little humor, it had an incorrect

approximation of the word welfare.



Error Taxonomies

           In order to make the process of error analysis proceed systematically, all steps

such as collecting error samples, identifying, classifying, explaining, and evaluating

errors, should be conducted carefully. Among those four steps, the stage of the

classification of errors is often the most complicated step, because its ex ecution should

                                                                                         9
be based on directly observable characteristics which include learner's environmental

factors (training procedures, communication situations; sociocultural factors) and

internal processing factors (first language „transfer‟, simplification, generation of „false

hypotheses‟ by the learner, and others). In accordance with that, the writer will only

focus on error taxonomies that classify errors according to some observable surface

feature of the error itself, without reference to its underlying cause or source. Dulay et

al. (1982: 145-146) call these descriptive taxonomies consisting of four commonly used

taxonomies for the bases of error classifications. First, Linguistic Category Taxonomy

which classifies errors according to either or both the language component or the

particular linguistic constituent the error affects. Second, Surface Strategy Taxonomy

which deals with how the ways of surface structures change. Third, Comparative

Taxonomy, which is based on comparisons between the structure of second language

errors and certain other types of constructions. Forth, Communicative Effect Taxonomy,

which is based on the effect caused by errors to the listeners or readers.

       Many error taxonomies have been based on the linguistic item which is affect ed

by an error. These Linguistic Category Taxonomies classify errors according to either or

both the language components or the particular linguistic constituent the error affects.

Language components include phonology (pronunciation), syntax and morphology

(grammar), semantics and lexicon (meaning and vocabulary), and discourse (style).

Technically, in conducting error analysis, every component above can be divided into

smaller elements. For example, within syntax one may ask whether the error is in the

main or subordinate clause; and within a clause, which constituent is affected, e.g. the

noun phrase, the auxiliary, the verb phrase, the preposition, and so forth.

                                                                                         10
        For language teaching, this Linguistic Category Taxonomy is really appropriate

and useful, because it has three advantages, especially for: (1) curriculum developers

who use it to organize language lessons or materials in students‟ textbook and

workbooks; (2) teachers and students, who can use such materials as a "barometer" to

feel that they have covered certain aspects of the language in their classes; (3)

researchers, who use it as a reporting tool which organizes the errors they have collected.

        Among of many kinds of linguistic category taxonomies which are popular, the

one proposed by Politzer and Ramirez (1973)—as shown in Table 1—is often made as a

reference.

        Table 1: Politzer and Ramirez‟s Linguistic Category Taxonomies

    Linguistic Category and Error Type                  Example of Learner Error

A. Morphology
  1. Indefinite Article Incorrect             A ant
  2. Possessive Case Incorrect                The man feet
  3. Third Person Singular Verb Incorrect     The bird help man
  4. Simple Past Tense Incorrect
     a. Regular past tense                    The bird he save him
     b. Irregular past tense                  He putted the cookie there
  5. Past Participle Incorrect                He was call
  6. Comparative Adjective/Adverb Incorrect   He got up more higher

B. Syntax
    1. Noun Phrase
       a. Determiners                         He no go in hole
       b. Nominalization                      By to cook it
       c. Number                              He got some leaf
       d. Use of Pronouns                     My brother he go to Mexico
       e. Use of Prepositions                 He came (to) the water

    2. Verb Phrase
       a. Omission of Verb                    He in the water
       b. Use of Progressive Tense            The bird was shake his head
       c. Agreement of Subject and Verb       The apples was coming down

    3. Verb-and-Verb Construction             He was going to fell



                                                                                        11
   4. Word Order                              The bird (object) he was gonna to shoot it

   5. Some Transformations
      a. Negative Transformation              They won‟t have no fun
      b. Question Transformation              How the story helps?
      c. There Transformation                 There is these hole
      d. Subordinate Clause Transformation    For the ant could get out



Writing Composition

    There is no doubt that writing is the most difficult skill for second or foreign

language learners to master. The difficulty lies not only in generating and organizing

ideas, but also in translating these ideas into readable text. The difficulty becomes

greater if their language proficiency is weak. Coffrey (1987: 2) revealed that, writing,

like speaking is an important means of communication in which someone can

meaningfully express, for examples, intentions, ideas, hopes, and findings to other

people. Thus, the purpose of learning writing skill is communicative competence which

means students are able to compose language components well and to express ideas or

opinions clearly in order to communicate successfully with other people. Widdowson

(1978: 62) states that: "... writing is the act of making up correct sentences and

transmitting them through the visual medium as marks on paper". To achieve this goal, a

learner must face a complex set of challenges that include mastering numerous lexical,

grammatical, and syntactic skills which must seem both daunting at times and possibly

insurmountable at others.

    In fact, sometimes the written word is the only acceptable way to communicate. A

company might, for instance, require a written letter of application before granting you a

job interview. An English teacher could ask the student to write an essay examination, or


                                                                                           12
you may have to-do a research report in your major field of study. Therefore anyone

needs to write sentences or texts correctly on paper in order to send the intended

messages to others.

       In addition to the making up correct sentences and communicating them to others,

Coffrey (1987: 2) indicates that it is essential to have certain standard ways of presenting

information in written form that people generally understand, namely, the short essay.

The short essay, or the composition, as it is sometimes called, is a type of writing that

concisely makes a point to the reader in approximately 500 words or one and one-half to

two written pages.

        By considering those explanations above, it is clear that writing a composition

is a very complex process and cannot be learnt in a short time. Based on the survey

carried out by Richards and Renandya (2002: 315 - 3l8), the writing process as a private

activity may be broadly seen as comprising four main stages: planning, drafting

(writing), revising (redrafting), and editing. These writing activities must be done step

by step and are comprised of four stages. First, planning (prewriting), is any activity in

the classroom that encourages students to write by generating tentative ideas and

gathering information. Sufficient ideas are gathered at the planning stage, the second

activity shall be drafting, may proceed quickly. At the drafting stage, the writers are

focused on the fluency of writing and are not preoccupied (influenced) with grammatical

accuracy or the neatness of the draft. Third, revising which is conducted at the third

stage of writing process. In this activity, the students reexamine what was written to see

how effectively they have communicated their meanings to the readers. The last stage of




                                                                                         13
writing process shall be editing. At this stage, students are engaged in tidying up their

text as they prepare the final draft for evaluation by the teacher.



Conceptual Framework

       Based on those theories above, writing is basically a process of communicating

ideas, messages, hopes and findings to other people (readers) through the visible marks

of language. As a communicative act which involves a lot of aspects, writing is very

difficult to master. The difficulty lies not only in creating and organizing ideas, but also

in translating these ideas into readable text. Meaning to say, in order to make the readers

receive the intended ideas or messages, the writer has to be able to express them

meaningfully and grammatically (morphologically and syntactically) through the written

language. For most people, it is very hard to do even though they write by using their

mother tongue. The difficulty becomes even greater if they write in second or foreign

language. Therefore, it is no wonder that Indonesian students make a lot of errors if they

write in English.

       Realizing that language errors can be used for knowing language learning process

which can then be made as a guideline for designing language teaching materials and

learning method development, the writer is really interested to conduct a research of

Error analysis of Grammar in the composition of the students attending the class of

Writing I in FKIP-UKI. Language errors related to the grammatical structure will be

analyzed in order to get a clear understanding of errors committed by the students.

Hopefully, the result of this research can give essential information for language

teaching in general and especially for English composition teaching.

                                                                                         14
C. METHODOLOGY

     This study employed a qualitative research method, which, according to Selinger and

Shohamy (1989: 124) is: “a useful approach whenever an investigator is concerned with

discovering or describing second language acquisition in its natural state or context and

where there are no assumptions about what that activity consists of or what its role is in

acquisition”. The technique employed to obtain the data was document-study, because the

data was collected from 25 corpus consisting of 25 different paragraphs written by 25

students attending the class of Writing I in the 2005/2006 Academic Year. The whole

collected data was then thoroughly examined to identify any grammatical errors made in

them. Finally, by using Politzer and Ramirez‟s Linguistic Category Taxonomy, each error

was descriptively analyzed by using the following four steps. First, the errors were identified

by carefully examining all erroneous sentences. Second, the errors were classified by

comparing each erroneous sentence to its reconstructed counterpart, and every error was

placed in eleven groups named based on Politzer and Ramirez‟s Linguistic Category

Taxonomy. Third, each error‟ cause was then determined.



D. RESEARCH FINDINGS AND DATA INTERPRETATION.

Research Findings

     The average number of sentences in each of the 25 paragraphs was 10. Thus the sum of

all sentences in the whole corpus was around 250. Based on the error analysis on the corpus,

114 sentences were found ungrammatical. This revealed that on average each paragraph

contained 46% erroneous sentence. In other words, there were, on average, 4 or 5 erroneous

sentences in a paragraph. In addition, the 114 erroneous sentences contained 306 errors.

                                                                                            15
Therefore, on average there were 2.68 (or almost 3) errors in each erroneous sentence.

Actually, the analysis could reveal much more numbers of erroneous sentence because the

errors tabulated in the analysis were only the ones which could clearly be understood and

whose constructions were not difficult to identify.

     The overall sum and percentages of error types found in the 25 paragraphs are

presented in Table 2 below.

No                       ERROR TYPES                         SUMS         PERCENTAGES
1      Indefinite Article Incorrect (IAI)                      4                1
2      Possessive Case Incorrect (PCI)                          6               2
3      Third Person Singular Verb Incorrect (TPSV)              3               1
4      Simple Past Tense Incorrect (SPTI)                       5               2
5      Past Participle Incorrect (PPI)                         12               4
6      Comparative Adjective/Adverb Incorrect (CAI)             4               1
7      Noun Phrase (NP)                                       148              48
8      Verb Phrase (VP)                                        76              25
9      Verb-and-Verb Construction (VVC)                        14               5
10     Word Order (WO)                                         22               7
11     Some Transformation (ST)                                12               4
                          TOTAL                               306             100%

Data Interpretation

      Based on the analysis and calculation made on the data, it was found that the greatest

number of all error types was Noun Phrase (NP) errors. The amount of this type of errors

was 148 (48 %). This error type was divided into five sub-categories, namely: determiners,

nominalization, number, use of pronouns, and use of prepositions. The followings are

examples of NP errors found in the corpus.

(1.a.) * What is more, these modifications offer greater number choices which make travels
       exciting more. (3/7).

(2.a.) * … English teachers from Singapore are competed with English teachers from
       Indonesia in order to teach in much Indonesian schools. (5/4-5)

(3.a.) * English is first global language. (9/3)


                                                                                         16
(4.a.) * I have two relatives who can be classified as global worker. He is Uncle Tino and
       Aunt Deasy. (11/4-5)

       In sentence (1.a.), the writer omitted preposition „of‟ which should have been put

between the word „number‟ and „choices‟. This finding revealed that the writer did not fully

master the use of preposition. The NP error in sentence (2.a.) is the use of „much‟ before the

countable noun „Indonesian Schools‟. The correct number to put here is „some‟. The NP

error in sentence (3.a.) is the omission of determiner „the‟ before the word „first‟. In

sentence (4.a.), the NP error is the use of pronoun „He‟ to represent two persons—„Uncle

Tino and Aunt Deasy‟. The reconstructed versions of these four sentences are:

(1.b.) What is more, these modifications offer greater number of choices which make travels
       …

(2.b.) … English teachers from Singapore are competed with English teachers from
      Indonesia in order to teach in some Indonesian schools.

(3.b.) English is the first global language.

(4.b.) I have two relatives who can be classified as global worker. They are Uncle Tino and
       Aunt Deasy.

      The second largest number of error was those included in Verb Phrase (VP) errors (76

items or 25 %). This error type was divided into three sub-categories, namely: omission of

verbs, use of progressive tense, and agreement of subject and verb. The followings are

three examples of VP errors found in the corpus.

(5.a.) * Nowadays, foreign travels has become routine experience for millions of middle and
       working-class people. (3/2-3)

(6.a.) * A mobile phone release yesterday will probably out of date after a month. (4/3)

(7.a.) * Competition and change two major characteristics of the global era. (5/1)




                                                                                           17
       In sentence (5.a.), the writer used the auxiliary verb „has‟ for a plural subject—

„foreign travels‟. This finding revealed that the writer did not fully master the rules dealing

with the agreement of subject and verb. The VP error in sentence (6.a.) is the use of

„release‟ to form a participial phrase. The correct word to put here is „released‟. The VP

error in sentence (7.a.) is the omission of verb „are‟ which should be placed between the

words „change‟ and „two‟. The followings are the reconstructed versions of these three

sentences.

(5.b.) Nowadays, foreign travels have become routine experience for millions of middle and
       working-class people.

(6.b.) A mobile phone released yesterday will probably out of date after a month.

(7.b.) Competition and change are two major characteristics of the global era.

      The third major type of error found in the corpus was Word Order (WO) errors (22

items or 7 %). The followings are two examples of WO errors found in the corpus.

(8.a.) *It is driven by international trade and investment and aided by information and
        technology transportation. (1/2-3)

(9.a.) *…, these modifications offer greater number choices which make travels exciting
       more. (3/7).

       In sentence (8.a.), the phrase „technology transportation‟ should be written as

“transportation technology”. The WO error in sentence (9.a.) is that the expression „exciting

more‟ should have been written „more exciting‟. The writers of these sentences seemed to

translate the pattern of Indonesian Word Order into English. The followings are the

reconstructed versions of these two sentences.

(8.b.) It is driven by international trade and investment and aided by information and
        transportation technology.




                                                                                            18
(9.b.) …, these modifications offer greater number choices which make travels more
       exciting.


        Verb-and-Verb Construction (VVC) error found in the corpus was quite significant.

The amount of this type of errors was 14 (15 %). The followings are two examples of VVC

errors found in the corpus.

(10.a.) * It is going to accelerating. (4/1)

(11.a.) * One‟s mastery of English will help him to develop his career. (9/5).


        The VVC error in sentence (10.a.) is that the use of present participle „accelerating‟

after „to be going to.‟ The correct verb to use after „to be going to‟ is the infinitive

„accelerate.‟ In sentence (8.a.), the correct form verb to use is infinitive without „to‟ because

it is preceded by the verb „help‟. The followings are the reconstructed versions of these two

sentences.

(10.b.) It is going to accelerate.

(11.b.) One‟s mastery of English will help him develop his career.


      Both Past Participle Incorrect (PPI) error and Some Transformation (ST) error were in

fifth and the sixth ranks. Each of them had 12 items or 4 %. The ST error was composed of

four sub-categories, namely negative transformation, question transformation, There

transformation and subordinate clause transformation. The followings are an example of

PPI errors and two examples of ST errors found in the corpus.

(12.a.) * They have get a lot of experience and money. (11/6)

(13.a.) * How English helps them? (9/7).




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(14.a.) * Because they can communicate easily with many people, they are proficient in
          English (9/9).


       In sentence (12.a.), the use of verb „get‟ is definitely wrong because the sentence is a

simple perfect tense. The correct verb to put in the sentence is „got‟ or „gotten‟. The ST error

in sentence (13.a.) is the omission of auxiliary verb „does‟ necessary to form a question in

simple present tense. In sentence (14.a.), the ST error is the misplacement of subordinate

conjunction „because‟. In the sentence, the first clause states the result while the second

expresses the cause. Thus, the conjunction should have been put before the second clause.

The followings are the reconstructed versions of these three sentences.

(12.b.) They have got a lot of experience and money.

(13.b.) How does English help them?

(14.b.) They can communicate easily with many people because they are proficient in
         English.


     Successively, these six major types of errors were followed by Possessive Case

Incorrect (PCI) error (6 items or 2 %); Simple Past Tense Incorrect (SPTI) errors (5 items or

2 %); Indefinite Article Incorrect (IAI) errors (4 items or 1 %); Comparative

Adjective/Adverb Incorrect (CAI) errors (4 items or 1 %); and Third Person Singular Verb

Incorrect (TPSV) errors (3 items or 1 %). Since their numbers were not very significant, it

seems not crucial to discuss them in details.



The Causes of Errors

     The errors committed by students in their compositions were obviously caused by two

major factors, i.e. the inference from Indonesian and intralingual transfer within English.


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The inference from Indonesian took place because the students transferred Indonesian rules

into English. The intralingual transfer was committed because the students were apt to build

up rules of English based on their limited knowledge and experience of that target language.



E. CONCLUSIONS AND SUGGESTIONS

Conclusions

     Based the analysis and interpretations made in the former sections, the following

conclusion were drawn.

1. The subjects‟ competence to write grammatically correct sentences was quite low

   because, on average, each paragraph they wrote contained 46% erroneous sentence, and

   each erroneous sentence contained 2.68 (or almost 3) errors.

2. All the errors were caused by two factors, i.e. inference from Indonesian and intralingual

   transfer within English.



Suggestions

       Based the findings, analysis, interpretations, and conclusions presented earlier, some

suggestions can be recommended to teachers and further study as follow:

1. To enable students to write more accurately, they need more practice on producing

   grammatical sentences, especially in the aspects of noun phrases, verb phrases, word

   order, verb-to-verb construction, past participle, and transformation. Consequently,

   teachers must provide a lot of intensive contextualized practices to students in order that

   errors related to those aspects will not recur.




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2. Teacher should focus on major error types rather than trying to correct every single

   error. The error to concentrate on should be those that are most frequently occurred in

   the students‟ composition.

3. Due to the limitation of the number of corpus and the linguistic items dealt with in this

   study, the findings might not applicable to larger populations of students. Thus, to obtain

   a more accurate and representative result, further studies with a larger number of corpus

   and more various linguistic items are highly recommended.



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This paper was presented in the FKIP-UKI English Department Bimonthly Collegiate Forum held on
August 11, 2006.




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