The Role and Significance of Error Linguistics in a Second Language Environment

Joseph- Kenneth kelechi Nzerem, Prisca Odinakachi Bob


Despite the fact that learners of the English language in non-native environments strive to attain native speakers’standard, their performance is replete with various forms of errors capable of causing infidelity in communication. This study investigates the significance of error linguistics in a Second Language environment. It states that errors are inevitable parts of language learning. They are indications that there exists a learning process. The study argues that although the making of errors is significant in the learning process, there is need to identify, locate, quantify and assess errors committed by learners. Therefore, error linguistics becomes a tool in the hands of linguists to unravel the mystery surrounding the making of errors. The study hinges on the behaviourist theory which is a psychological theory that emphasizes on observable behaviour. It was propounded by J. B. Watson, E. L. Thorndike and B. F. Skinner. The causes of errors as stated in this studyinclude: lack of motivation, First Language interference, translation of idiomatic expressions and overgeneralization. The study classifies errors into inter-lingual and intra-lingual as well as distinguishes between errors and mistakes. It therefore presents procedures used for error analysis in error linguistics which hopefully would reduce the number of errors committed by a Second Language learner of the English language.

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