…] Correction means helping students to become more accurate in their use of language […] (KHANSIR, A.A., & PAKDEL, F. 2018 p. 5)
Second language acquisition has a variety of processes that every learner will go through and the errors are something natural and necessary for the process of learning. Touchie (1986) pointed out that some research in applied linguistics emphasizes the significance of the error in the process of second language acquisition.
For him, errors mainly come from mother-tongue interferences, interlingual errors, intralingual errors, and developmental factors. Other scholars quoted by Kaweera (2013) distinguish the same idea, that is, are three sources of errors; the first one is called interference error, the result of mother tongue interference. Second, comes intralingual error reflects the incorrect generalization of the target language rules. Finally, the developmental error occurs when learners hypothesize about the target language based on their basic knowledge of it.
From this view, Touchie (1986), mentioned these categories were divided into simplification, overgeneralization, hypercorrection, faulty teaching, fossilization, avoidance, inadequate learning, and false concepts hypothesized.
It can be seen that the studies provide an insight into how learners achieve a second language and how the process of it occurs, identifies the most frequent errors, and also provide a better understanding of how language teaching can be efficient in learning language acquisition.
For that matter, Touchie (1986) states that errors are significant in three aspects:
for language teachers because the errors indicate the learners’ progress in language learning, errors are also important for the language researcher as they provide insights into how language is learned, and finally, errors are significant to the language learner himself/herself as he/she gets involved in hypothesis testing.
As above-mentioned, learning something involves committing errors. The errors are part of the process and there are some of them specific to second language learning only.
Touchie (1986) mentioned that in the past, language teachers considered errors committed by learners undesirable since they believed they could avoid them.
However recent research has shown that errors are evidence of the process of language learning acquisition. Learners employ hypotheses for testing different strategies while learning a second language and according to it teachers need to be aware of:
Teachers cannot and should not correct all errors committed by their students. Besides, the frequent correction of oral errors disrupts the process of language learning and discourages shy students from communicating in the target language. (TOUCHIE, 1986 p. 5)
The issue of error correction has different views according to the approach to be followed. Khansir, A. A., & Pakdel, F. (2018) bring up that teachers will be analyzing errors from the approach they choose to follow. It is necessary a critically think about what is the need and goals of the students. The correction should be handy but the teachers must bear in mind whether are working on accuracy or fluency.
What is very important is that if the aim of error correction is to learn target language, or when it is necessary in teaching a second or a foreign language, or when it impairs communication in the target language, then errors should be corrected. Most language researchers believed that error correction can be used as a form of feedback. Correction is viewed as feedback on errors. (KHANSIR, A.A., & PAKDEL, F. 2018 p. 5)
In a language learning context, teachers or tutors must be aware of the types of errors, it may be concerned with accuracy or fluency, based on this, provide adequate interventions to correct errors properly.
Fortunately, nowadays there are researches and great materials that provide most of the methods and excellent strategies that should apply in ESL or EFL learning in order to work with errors and correct them properly within the context of the students’ needs.
An efficient language learning method must somehow supply all the important information it is necessary for learning. It does not mean that errors will not happen but means that teachers and tutors will be able to predict where and what types of errors learners could show out and prevent smart interventions to correct them.
KAWEERA, Chittima. “Writing Error: a review of interlingual and intralingual interference in EFL context.” English Language Teaching, vol. 6, 2013. Chittima Kaweera-new-final, https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1077017.pdf. Accessed 01 04 2022.
TOUCHIE, Hanna Y. (1986). Second language learning errors their types, causes, and treatment. JALT Journal, Volume 8, nº 1
KHANSIR, A. A., & PAKDEL, F. (2018). Place of Error Correction in English Language Teaching. Educational Process: International Journal, 7(3), 189-199.