Turkish speaking first year and third year ELT students' syntactic errors in their argumentative essays
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The purpose of this study is to explore the syntactic error types made by ELT students in their English essays, to find out whether the errors show any difference according to the year level and the error type, and to describe the frequent errors emerged in the data. This research is believed to contribute to our ELT practices like the design of teaching activities in the fields of both FL teaching and language teacher training. The study is a part of a larger project which was funded by TÜBİTAK SOBAG group (project number 108K153). The corpus used for analysis was reached by computerizing 8794-word handwritten texts composed of the argumentative essays of 17 first year students and 17 third year students of Anadolu University Education Faculty ELT Department BA Program. Syntactic errors in the texts were identified and corrected by a British native speaker. The errors were assigned error tags used by the UCLEE program and the error frequencies were obtained using the concordanceprogram AntConc. Stati stical analyses were obtained via SPSS 15 program. Determining whether each error was an omission, addition or misinformation error, as proposed in the “surface structure taxonomy” (Dulay, Burt & Krashen, 1982), and stating the errors’ syntactic, semantic and discourse level features formed the descriptions of the frequent errors. According to the findings, there were nine general types of errors in the texts. Four of them, namely article, verb, noun and pronoun use in frequency order, accounted for 86% of all the errors found. The non-parametric tests showed no significant difference between the two year levels on the basis of the error frequencies, but they confirmed a significant difference between the errors of both article use and verb use and all other types of errors. In the light of the results, the most frequent errors, namely the errors of article use, were focused on and described in terms of specificity, genericity, uniqueness and discourse features. The widespread addition of “the” was found with noun phases having [–specific], [+generic, +plural], and [–unique] nouns and the noun phrases which were newly introduced in the discourse. In the light of available literature, these results might indicate that the present ELT students’ acquisition of article use has not been completed yet.
- Tez Koleksiyonu