show us that a student is taking risks with the language in her efforts to communicate. Errors tell us,the teachers, where a student is in her development, and they are key indicators of what needs to beworked on in class. Furthermore, when helping students with mistakes, we want to aim the studenttowards self-correction, a technique that raises her awareness about English, rather than keeping thestudent dependent upon the guidance of the teacher.In the process of helping students with their errors, we want to continue building the self-confidenceof the learners (always encouraging, never discouraging), making the learners more aware of thelanguage, recognizing the learners’ progress, as well as helping the learners become more proficientin their use of the language.Origin of Learner Errors
What are some of the causes of learners' mistakes in the ESL/EFL classroom? We know throughsimple observation that learning a new language is a gradual process. However, teachers can oftengain insight by analyzing the types of errors that students are making.L1 Interference with Vocabulary and GrammarThis is where students use the forms of their native language (first language) and translate themdirectly into English rather than selecting the slightly different vocabulary word, grammar tense, orstructure that should be chosen. These errors will reflect the specific L1 of the learner since that isthe language that is mirrored. Example Error: I want to make a party for you. (I want to have a partyfor you.) Example Error: I am here since Tuesday. (I have been here since Tuesday.) Example Error:She needs book about irregular verbs. (She needs a book about irregular verbs.)L1 interference with SyntaxWe find many errors in the order of words or phrases of English language learners since English isrelatively inflexible when compared to many other languages. It often insists on subject-verb-object.Example Error: Him I asked why he did that. (I asked him why he did that.) Example Error: She’swearing jeans blue. (She’s wearing blue jeans.) Example Error: The ball to her kicked I. (I kicked theball to her.)L1 interference with PronunciationSome sounds are common in English but not used in other languages. In addition, some lettersrepresent different sounds in other languages than they do in many English words. Example Error:Pronouncing hit with the sound of heat. Example Error: Dat is fine wid me. (That is fine with me.)Example Error: Pronouncing frame with the sound of flame.False CognatesFalse cognates cause students to choose words that are inappropriate in English based on the factthat they look or sound similar to L1 vocabulary. Below are a few examples of false Spanish/Englishcognates: words that are similar looking in both languages, but which have totally differentmeanings. embarazadameans pregnant, not embarrassed; pretendermeans to intend, not topretend; actualmeans current, not actual; and lecturameans reading matter, not lecture.