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Errors of Speakers Acquiring a Second Language

Before one can understand or help to eliminate the kinds of errors that speakers make when acquiring a secondary language, it is necessary first of all to understand the kinds of mistakes that occur in all speech production. The kinds of mistakes that all speakers make from time to time are not of especial interest to the teacher or researcher of second language acquisition because they exist within the universe of language at large rather than within the smaller universe of second language acquisition. They can û and should û be weeded out as a sort of background noise for the researcher or teacher who wishes to concentrate on the issue of secondary language acquisition.

While the concepts of ôerrorö and ômistakeö might seem to be interchangeable, within the realm of speech production they must be viewed as different types of events with different causes and remedies. Mistakes are nonsystematic occurrences, genuinely innocent events that include things like slips of the tongue and grammatical mistakes that result from a speaker losing track of a sentence û forgetting, for example, what the subject was before arriving at the predicate and so failing to make the two agree. While the most fluent speakers make mistakes, they can amend these mistakes once they are made aware of them. The mistakes that native speakers make in a language are analogous to mistakes that people all make in other fields û slipping on a wet floor or burning dinner. They are things that people do not intend to happen, that people can themselves recognize as error and that native speakers try to fix when they do happen.

The errors that speakers make in a language that is not their native one are analogous to cultural errors, like sending chrysanthemums for a congratulatory bouquet in France because one does not know that mums are used only in funeral arrangements in that country. Linguistic (or cultural) errors of this sort are not the type that one c...

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Errors of Speakers Acquiring a Second Language. (2000, January 01). In Retrieved 05:49, February 20, 2017, from