SUBJECT-VERB AGREEMENT IN L2  LEARNER LANGUAGE    A study of compulsory school English in a Swedish context

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för språk och litteraturer

Author: Erik Johansson; [2018-10-18]

Keywords: SLA; error analysis; learner language; concord;

Abstract: Abstract: learners of English produce subject-verb agreement errors in written productions. The study uses Error Analysis in order to collect, identify, describe, and finally, explain the occuring errors. The data consists of75textswritten by students in grades 7 and 8 in a Swedish compulsory school and a total of 140subject-verb agreement errorswerefound.Theresultsshowthatformalgrammaticalagreementerrorswitha plural count noun as the subject are the most common. It also shows that subject-verb agreement errors when the subject is a nounornounphrasearemorecommonthanerrorswith other subjects and that the most common verb associated with agreement errors is to be. The difference in the number of errors made by male and female students is shown to be greater than the difference between the grades. Cross-linguistic influence, e.g. transfer from L1 toL2, is shown to be one of the main reasons behind the agreement errors. Another reason is the inherent difficulty of subject-verb agreement in English. The essay includes a discussion of what the pedagogical implications of studying errors in learner language might be.

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