Inter- and intralingual errors in Chinese students' compositions : A case study

University essay from Karlstads universitet/Institutionen för språk, litteratur och interkultur (from 2013)

Abstract: In this quantitative study, time controlled written English compositions by 39 Chinese university majors of English were analyzed by means of Error Analysis (EA) in order to find out what grammatical errors were made. It investigates errors made by more than one fifth of the participants, in order to see whether they can be ascribed to either interlingual or intralingual influence. An error taxonomy based on previous research was created specifically for the errors encountered in the EA. The following grammatical errors were analyzed in the error analysis: article errors, noun number errors, prepositions errors, and verb errors. The results of the error analysis showed that while Chinese learners of English make mistakes due to both interlingual and intralingual influence, the vast majority are due to interlingual influence. These findings strengthen previous notions that when the target language belongs to another language family than the L1, errors are due more often to interlingual influence (also referred to as negative transfer) than to intralingual influence.

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