Reconsidering Arab EFL Learners’ Article Errors: A Corpus-Based Study.
Keywords:English articles, Errors Analysis, Interlingual errors, Intralingual errors.
Errors have been recognized as solid evidence of EFL learners’ development. Several claims regarding errors have been suggested, either to investigate their reasons or to use them as a guide to article instruction. Since there are salient differences between the Arabic and English article systems, extensive research has been conducted on the effect of these differences on Arab EFL learners. Most of this research attributed article errors to L1 transfer and overlooked other potential factors that might cause such errors. Responding to this research gap, the present study aims to investigate the hypothesis that developmental and other intralingual factors are likely to cause such errors as much as L1 interference. To generate its findings, the study adopted the corpus linguistic method to analyze and compare a learner corpus written by 100 Arab EFL students and a native corpus, each of which incorporates 125000 words. The study findings revealed that both EFL learners and native speakers follow the same accuracy order of using English articles and commit comparable errors. Moreover, it has been found that a significant number of EFL learners’ errors could not be safely attributed to L1 interference. These results imply that developmental factors are responsible for Arab learners’ errors as much as L1 interference. Accordingly, more consideration of such factors is worth further study to generate findings that can improve English article instruction.
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