Research and Applications for Foreign Language Teaching and Assessment
Dealing with Errors in Learner Corpora to Describe, Teach and Assess EFL Writing: Focus on Article Use
1. Analysis of Errors in Learner Language
The analysis of errors, i.e. ‘unsuccessful bit[s] of language’ (James 1998: 1), produced by Foreign Language (FL) learners, is undertaken from two main perspectives. The first perspective in the analysis of learners’ errors stems from Corder’s (1967) influential article on the importance of the information conveyed by errors for the researcher, the teacher and the student. In an attempt to improve students’ accuracy in their use of the FL and to design teaching materials that would cater to their needs, Error Analysis (EA) proved a highly active and fruitful field in the 1970s (see, for instance, Brown 1994). Although EA presented some limitations regarding the appropriateness of learner data, the static picture of FL learning, etc. (see Brown, 1994; Granger, 1998; Tono, 2002), these drawbacks were to a great extent overcome by Computer-aided Error Analysis (CEA) (Dagneaux/Denness/Granger 1998), by improving the methodology used and compiling computer learner corpora, i.e. “electronic collections of foreign or second language learner texts assembled according to explicit design criteria” (Granger 2009: 14). The research possibilities offered by computer learner corpora, which can be analysed with corpus linguistics tools, led to their compilation (for an updated overview of learner corpora around the world, see Centre for English Corpus Linguistics website1) and analysis by means of different methodologies, such as CEA, Contrastive Interlanguage Analysis ← 37 | 38 → (CIA) (Granger 1996)2 and the Integrated Contrastive Method (ICM) (Granger 1996; Gilquin 2000/2001), favouring the development of Learner...
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