Analysis of errors in the texts of German learners at a beginner level

  • Ajda Gabrič University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts
Keywords: errors, error analysis, causes of errors, interference, level A1 of CEFR

Abstract

The paper analyses the typical errors and mistakes in texts (homeworks and exams) written by adults whose first language is Slovene and who are learning German at a beginner level. The theoretical part describes the concept of a mistake in the framework of language education, the classification of mistakes according to the language levels from the orthography to the pragmatics, and the most common causes of mistakes in the process of language acquisition; the concept of interference is explained in this part. This is followed by a classification and description of mistakes from the collected corpus of 40 texts. The results of the analysis show that learners make the most mistakes on the levels of orthography and morphology. The most problematic are the capitalization of nouns and the correct spelling on the level of orthography, and the gender and case of nouns as well as the conjugation of verbs on the level of morphology. Mistakes caused by the incorrect use of prepositions and the lack of definite and indefinite articles are also relatively common. The incorrect use of vocabulary shows the influence of Slovene as the first language and English as the foreign language already known to the students. The most important causes of mistakes are the intralingual and interlingual interferences, as well as the lack of knowledge of the rules in the foreign language. In the last part of the paper, some exercises are described that are intended to help learners avoid common mistakes, and emphasis is put on the awareness of one's own mistakes.

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Published
2019-12-30
How to Cite
GabričA. (2019). Analysis of errors in the texts of German learners at a beginner level. Journal for Foreign Languages, 11(1), 173-190. https://doi.org/10.4312/vestnik.11.173-190
Section
Articles