L2 English spelling error analysis : An investigation of English spelling errors made by Swedish senior high school students

University essay from Karlstads universitet/Institutionen för språk, litteratur och interkultur

Abstract: Proper spelling is important for efficient communication between people with different first languages in the 21st century. While Swedish functions as an intranational language within Sweden, it sees little to no use outside of Scandinavia. English fills the role as a second language that all Swedish students must learn, yet more focus appears to be given to grammar rather than spelling. Spelling is important and knowing the kinds of spelling errors Swedish learners of English tend to make can help educators improve the spelling proficiency of their students. The aim of this study is to investigate the spelling errors made by senior high school students in Sweden by analyzing a collection of essays written by students and gathered in the Uppsala Learner English Corpus (ULEC). The results of this study show that spelling proficiency nearly doubled for students in their third year in senior high school compared to their first year, yet the distribution of spelling errors remained the same. Additionally, some particular sounds that appear to be especially problematic for Swedish spellers were identified, such as /ə/, /l/, /s/ and /k/.

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