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Title:English syntax: Problems of acquisition. A cross-sectional study of the written compositions of Jordanian learners of English as a Second Language
Author(s):Bataineh, Ruba Fahmi
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):McClure, Erica F.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Language and Literature
Education, Bilingual and Multicultural
Abstract:This study is a cross-sectional investigation of the major syntactic errors in compositions written by sixty Jordanian learners of English as a second language. It analyzes the errors these learners make in the use of articles, prepositions, verbs, tense, and concord. Its purposes are to (a) compare frequencies of errors to find out if any developmental patterns exist among the three levels and (b) draw conclusions about the causes of these errors.
Error analysis is the principal method used in this analysis. In addition to errors of omission, deletion, and substitution, syntactically correct instances were studied as a means to find out the overall improvement, if any, these learners make as they advance in their study of English.
A variety of explanations were offered for the various errors found in the learners' essays. Interlingual interference was used to account for the majority of these errors. Intarlingual interference, a term coined by the present researcher to refer to errors resulting from the influence of the target language, was also found to account for a good number of errors. Techniques of teaching and material presentation, also known as transfer of training, accounted for the remaining few errors.
The learners of the three levels were found to exhibit different degrees of difficulty within and among the five error categories. Overall, this difficulty, measured by the number of errors in each of these categories, was found to decrease from one level to the next. This, paired with the increase in the number of correct instances, is consistent with the assumptions on which this research is based. The Elementary Level learners are the least familiar with the target language, which causes them to make more errors than their Intermediate and Advanced counterparts.
To ensure efficient teaching of English for Jordanian learners, the present researcher recommends that the focus of teaching be on selected syntactic problems instead of a general presentation of English syntax. The English teaching syllabi in Jordanian schools and universities ought to find intelligent ways to deal with these problems.
Issue Date:1993
Rights Information:Copyright 1993 Bataineh, Ruba Fahmi
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9314840
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9314840

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