Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. (TESOL) Toward a Taxonomy of Written Errors: Investigation Into the Written Errors of Hong Kong Cantonese ESL Learners Author(s): ALICE Y. W. CHAN Source: TESOL Quarterly, Vol. 44, No. 2 (June 2010), pp. 295-319 Published by: Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. (TESOL) Stable URL: Accessed: 25-01-2019 07:50 UTC JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected] Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. (TESOL) is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to TESOL Quarterly This content downloaded from 184.108.40.206 on Fri, 25 Jan 2019 07:50:55 UTC All use subject to
Toward a Taxonomy of Written Errors: Investigation Into the Written Errors of Hong Kong Cantonese ESL Learners ALICE Y. W. CHAN City University of Hong Kong Hong Kong SAR, China This article examines common lexicogrammatical problems found in Cantonese English as a second language (ESL) learners' written English output. A study was conducted with 387 student participants, who were asked to do two untutored and unaided free-writing tasks of about 200-300 words each. A range of lexicogrammatical error types commonly found among Hong Kong Cantonese ESL learners was identified. Errors from the lexical level included vocabulary compensa tion and inaccurate directionality; errors from the syntactic level included calquing, existential structures, incorrect ordering of adver biale, and independent clauses as subjects; and those from the discourse level included periphrastic-topic constructions. Mother tongue influence was inevitably an important source of the problems, but inadequate mastery of correct usage of the target language and universal processes were also important factors. The results of the study have potential for enhancing our understanding of the interlanguage grammar of learners and the nature, sources, and prevalence of learner problems. The results also have promising pedagogical implications, as they inform teachers of the levels, nature, sources, prevalence, and gravity of learner errors and equip them with the key ingredients needed for the design of appropriate remedial instructional materials. A discussion of how the taxonomical classification would be useful for language teachers is also given. dot: 10.5054/tq.2010.219941 English is a "value-added" language in Hong Kong, indispensable for both upward and outward mobility, rather than a typical second or foreign language (Li, 1999, p. 97). It is compulsorily taught at all secondary and primary schools and is the medium of instruction of
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