AN ERROR ANALYSIS OF THE USE OF PAST SIMPLE AND PAST CONTINUOUS

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AN ERROR ANALYSIS OF THE USE OF PAST SIMPLE AND PAST CONTINUOUS TENSES BY FIRST YEAR STUDENTS AT SILPAKORN UNIVERSITY

SUJITRA YAMPUT

Adviser: Associate Professor Nitaya Yuangsri

A RESEARCH PAPER SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS IN ENGLISH FOR CAREERS LANGUAGE INSTITUTE, THAMMASAT UNIVERSITY BANGKOK, THAILAND MARCH 2011

ABSTRACT

This study was conducted to analyze the grammatical errors types in the use of past simple and past continuous tenses by sixty first year students at Silpakorn University. The study aimed to find out the frequent errors and the causes of errors made by English and non-English major students. The results of the study revealed that grammatical errors were based on the four types of errors: tense, omission, addition, and misformation. Errors in tense were problematic for both groups of students. The most frequent tense error was past continuous tense produced by the non-English major students, while past simple tense errors were produced less often. The findings of this study could be useful for the Thai EFL/ ESL students to enhance their English grammar proficiency in the past simple and past continuous tenses. Furthermore, it could be helpful to teachers for improving their teaching techniques and materials. Moreover, teachers can emphasize the problematic areas of the past simple and past continuous tenses to learn the causes of the students’ errors. Knowledge about the occurrence of errors plays a significant role in students’ improving their language learning in English and the development of teaching strategies to address these weaknesses. This could lead to more successful language learning in English grammar for Thai EFL/ESL students.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This study could not have been accomplished without the advice, guidance, assistance and encouragement from many people. All of them did their best to help me and I am in debt to them. I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks and gratitude to all the people involved. First of all, I wish to express my appreciation to my adviser, Associate Professor Nitaya Yuangsri for her excellent supervision, valuable guidance and intellectual support. I am also grateful to Associate Professor Dr. Piyanat Sukonthaman, Faculty of Archaeology, Western Department, Silpakorn University, who gave her permission for the research to be conducted. Thanks are also extended to the participants for their kind cooperation in completing the test. At the same time, I wish to express my appreciation to all of the instructors at Thammasat University who have contributed to helping me further my studies. I also convey my thanks and appreciation to all my friends in the English for Careers program at the Language institute at Thammasat University. Lastly, my thanks go to my dearest parents for their encouragement and great support throughout the past two years, which helped me get through the difficult times and achieve academic success.

Thammasat University

Sujitra Yamput

Bangkok, Thailand

March 2011

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CONTENTS PAGE ABSTRACT......................................................................................................ii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ..............................................................................iii CONTENTS ......................................................................................................iv LIST OF TABLES ............................................................................................vi CHAPTER

1.

2.

3.

INTRODUCTION ..........................................................................1 1.1

Background ............................................................................1

1.2

Statement of the Problem .......................................................2

1.3

Objectives of the Study ..........................................................4

1.4

Definition of Terms................................................................4

1.5

Scope of the Study .................................................................5

1.6

Significance of the Study .......................................................5

1.7

Organization of the Study ......................................................6

REVIEW OF LITERATURE .........................................................7 2.1

The Tense and Aspect System ...............................................7

2.2

Overview of Error ..................................................................9

2.3

The Significance of Learners’ Errors .....................................12

2.4

Related Research ....................................................................13

METHODOLOGY .........................................................................17 3.1

Subjects ..................................................................................17

3.2

Materials ................................................................................17

3.3

Procedures ..............................................................................18

3.4

Data Analysis .........................................................................19

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4.

RESULTS .......................................................................................20 4.1

Summary of Frequencies and Percentages of Error Categories ..............................................................................20

4.2

Summary of Frequencies and Percentages of Tense Errors Found in English Grammar Test ............................................22

4.3

Summary of Frequencies and Percentages of Omission Errors Found in English Grammar Test ............................................23

4.4

Summary of Frequencies and Percentages of Addition Errors Found in English Grammar Test ............................................24

4.5

Summary of Frequencies and Percentages of Misformation Errors Found in English Grammar Test .................................25

4.6

Summary of Frequencies and Percentages of Past Simple Tense Errors Found in English Grammar Test .................................26

4.7

Summary of Frequencies and Percentages of Past Continuous Tense Errors Found in English Grammar Test ......................27

5. CONCLUSIONS, DISCUSSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS...29 5.1

Summary of the Study ...........................................................29

5.2

Summary of the Findings .......................................................30

5.3

Discussion ..............................................................................30

5.4

Conclusions ............................................................................32

5.5

Recommendations for Further Research ................................33

REFERENCES .................................................................................................34 APPENDICES ..................................................................................................37 A. English Grammar Test .......................................................................37 B. Answer Key ........................................................................................41

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LIST OF TABLES PAGE Table 1. Summary of Frequencies and Percentages of Error Categories .................20 Table 2. Summary of Frequencies and Percentages of Tense Errors Found in English Grammar Test ..............................................................................................22 Table 3. Summary of Frequencies and Percentages of Omission Errors Found in English Grammar Test ................................................................................23 Table 4. Summary of Frequencies and Percentages of Addition Errors Found in English Grammar Test .................................................................................24 Table 5. Summary of Frequencies and Percentages of Misformation Found in English Grammar Test .............................................................................................25 Table 6. Summary of Frequencies and Percentages of Past Simple Tense Errors Found in English Grammar Test ...............................................................26 Table 7. Summary of Frequencies and Percentages of Past Continuous Tense Errors Found in English Grammar Test..................................................................27

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CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION

1. 1

BACKGROUND English grammar is a significant part in language learning of Thai EFL

learners as it can contribute to the accuracy of their language skills in English-listening, speaking, reading and writing. “The grammatical structure is the pattern and form of words in a sentence domain, which is a subclassification of the grammar or the rules of propriety” (Lado, 1961) as cited in Woranuch Saengnimnuan. Therefore, good grammar knowledge enables the production of standardized English language. However, Thai EFL learners produce ungrammatical English language that may lead to misunderstanding and communication breakdown. According to Tarone and Yule (1989), “If learners can demonstrate that they ‘know’ the rules, then they must surely possess grammatical competence” (p.69). When learning English as a foreign language (EFL) or English as a second language (ESL), Thai EFL learners have to spend much time and effort to learn and use English grammar correctly. This is because grammar is the most important element in English language acquisition. Although many Thai EFL students have been studying English since elementary school, it seems that they still face grammar problems. Accordingly, English grammar is always included as a compulsory course that has been taught to the students at Thai educational institutes. This study focuses on grammatical errors in English language acquisition of past simple and past continuous tenses by Thai EFL students. In English, tense is the essential part of language learning to express time through verbal inflections, including some verb auxiliaries, regular and irregular verb forms. On the contrary, Thai language does not have a tense system to convey time markers (TMs). The problems of learning the past tenses of English verbs have been widely studied as an interesting problem in language acquisition for Thai EFL students. According to Preeyaporn Sorattayatorn (2003), studying the past tense usage is the main problem of a number of Thai English learners who have misuse of inflectional verbs to mark the grammatical past verbs in the second language. English tense and aspect systems are still problematic in language acquisition in both

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ESL/EFL learners because Thai learners seem to transfer the error of grammatical past tense forms for the past time. As a result, the present study analyzed the grammatical errors of past simple and past continuous production by Thai EFL learners to reduce and to detect errors related past tense form. Charas Ubol (1981) reviewed the problem on English teaching and learning in Thailand. Both the teachers and Thai EFL students encounter many problems: (1) there is inadequate English teaching and learning equipment, including ineffective teaching methods; (2) Thai students tend to transfer the habits of their mother tongue (L1) Thai into the foreign language (L2) English; (3) English teachers are likely to use textbooks too advanced for students’ language ability. The rule mechanism of grammar is inflectional past tense verb, which consists of two different types: regular and irregular verbs. Most simple past verbs are formed by adding an –ed suffixation at the end of regular verbs, while some verbs have irregular past forms by verb 2; i.e., see-saw, drink-drank, and write-wrote etc. Apart from simple past tense, the structure of past continuous tense is formed by verb to be (was/ were) + v.ing-suffixation. This is the grammar rule that most learners know; however, some still have problems with verb tense. This study was conducted to investigate and analyze Thai EFL students’ acquisition and production of past simple and past continuous tenses by applying verb tense knowledge effectively in order to enhance their comprehension. Moreover, the frequent errors will be analyzed to reduce those errors. 1.2

STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM The major problem of Thai students is inadequate background knowledge

about language acquisition of the verb tense system. This study will focus on studying the production and acquisition of past simple and past continuous tenses of Thai students learning English as a foreign language. Charas Ubol (1981) stated, “Some of the most frequent errors made by Thai students arise from mother tongue interference” (p.1). There are several factors that

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influence a second language learner system. According to Richards and Samson (1974), the first factor is a language transfer of their native language to the target language. The second factor is an intralingual interference by learners that is not in the structure of mother tongue, but is based on exposure to the target language. Next, a third factor is the sociolinguistic situation in which the influence of the mother tongue on the learner’s language may also differ according to the medium and style. The last factor is age, which may affect the approximate system of the second language learner. Some aspects of the child’s learning capacities change, which may affect language learning. Language transfer can result in some errors that can cause misunderstanding and miscommunication in the past tense. The researcher realizes and is interested in studying the problem of English grammar proficiency in the acquisition of past simple and past continuous tenses by Thai EFL students between English and non-English major with average O-Net score in English subject. Moreover, the area of this present study is error analysis of verb tense of past simple and past continuous tenses to find the causes of the problem and solve these problems in the future. Moreover, this seems to be one of the issues for Thai teachers in their teaching technique. The study can lead to the development of guidelines to help teachers teach students efficiently. Moreover, this study can provide information for schools or universities to improve and develop English grammar curriculum effectively. This study aimed to answer the following questions: 1.2.1

What types of grammatical error are frequently found in the production

of past simple and past continuous tenses by Thai EFL students? 1.2.2 What are the frequencies of each grammatical error type? 1.2.3

What are the causes of grammatical errors in the production of past

simple and past continuous tenses by Thai EFL students?

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1.3

OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY The objectives of this study are the following: 1.3.1

To investigate the error types of past simple and past continuous

1.3.2

To identify the frequencies of each grammatical error type by Thai

tenses.

EFL students. 1.3.3

To analyze the causes of grammatical errors in the production of past

simple and past continuous tenses to reduce their grammatical errors.

1.4

DEFINITIONS OF TERMS The definition of the terms of this study is as follows: 1.4.1

Language acquisition refers to Thai EFL students’ comprehension to

use past simple and past continuous tenses. 1.4.2

Thai EFL students/Thai EFL learners refer to the students who

learn English as a foreign language. In this study, it will be the first year students, both English majors and non-English majors, at Silpakorn University. 1.4.3

Frequent errors refer to the errors that occur in using past simple and

past continuous verb tenses by Thai EFL students. 1.4.4

L1 refers to the mother tongue in Thai language.

1.4.5

L2 refers to the second language in English language.

1.4.6

Regular verb refers to verb forms produced by the application of an –

ed-suffixation rule in the end of regular verb. 1.4.7

Irregular verb refers to an inflectional verb formed by the application

of verb 2 (e.g. run-ran, or begin-began.) 1.4.8

The rule mechanism refers to applying English grammar principles to

use verb tenses accurately. 1.4.9

Past simple tense refers to a completed action in the past.

1.4.10 Past continuous tense refers to the activity in progress at a particular time in the past.

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1.5

SCOPE OF THE STUDY This study is limited to the production of past simple and past continuous

tenses, and focuses only on grammatical errors. The study is detailed as follows: 1.5.1

This study was carried out with a sample of first year students at

Silpakorn University who had studied the subject of Fundamental English, both English majors and non-English majors. The total population was 60 students, who were divided into two groups. 1.5.2

This study aimed to analyze the production of past simple and past

continuous tenses by first year students who received an average score from O-Net examination. 1.5.3

The study identified and classified types of grammatical errors as well

as the frequency. The errors were divided into four types: tense, omission, addition and misformation. 1.5.4

The study aimed to find the causes of their grammatical errors

produced by English and non-English major students. In addition, the differences of these two groups were diagnosed to find the frequent errors in order to improve their ability in using past simple and past continuous tenses. 1.6

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY This study was conducted to analyze the grammatical errors types produced by

Thai EFL students in the use of past simple and past continuous tenses towards their language learning as follows: 1.6.1 The findings of the present study may encourage Thai EFL learners to produce the past simple and past continuous tenses correctly and enhance their English proficiency. 1.6.2 The findings of the study will analyze and identify the type and frequency of errors to enable teachers to improve their teaching techniques and to develop teaching materials effectively.

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1.6.3 The findings of the study can also provide valuable information to enhance students’ knowledge in English grammar, which would be helpful for teachers to find the better strategies of teaching and learn more about the students’ errors in English grammar. 1.6.4 The findings of the present study may be used as a basis for further studies on other tenses in English grammar. 1.7

ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY The study of error analysis of the use of past simple and past continuous tenses

by first year students at Silpakorn University is divided into five chapters as follows: Chapter One consists of the background of the study, statement of the problem, objectives of the study, definition of the terms, scope of the study, significance of the study and organization of the study. Chapter Two comprises the review of literature and related research to this study. Chapter Three provides the research methodology of this study, which includes a selection of subjects, the instrument, the data collection, and the data analysis, which will be used for evaluation of the results of the study. Chapter Four presents the findings of the study derived from the English grammar test, which shows the types of grammatical errors, the frequency of errors and the causes of grammatical errors by the first year students at Silpakorn University, both English and non-English majors. Chapter Five includes the discussions and conclusion of the findings, and recommendations.

CHAPTER TWO REVIEW OF LITERATURE

This chapter reviews the literature in five main areas along with a summary: (1) the tense and aspect system, (2) overview of errors, (3) the significance of learners’ errors and error analysis (4) relevant research.

2.1

THE TENSE AND ASPECT SYSTEM Celce-Murcia and Larsen-Freeman (1999) stated that English tense-aspect

system is very important to ESL/EFL students to enable them to really understand how the system functions and patterns of tense-aspect combinations. The nature of tense relates to time: present, past and future. There are four aspects: simple, perfect, progressive, and perfect progressive combination. Accordingly, one of the reasons displays the tense-aspect system combinations in order to demonstrate the 12 “tenses” are simply combinations. To develop an understanding of the tense-aspect system in English, ESL/EFL students have to learn the form and meaning of three tenses and the two aspects. According to Greenbuam and Quirk (1990), the definition of tense and aspect is as follows: Tense is a grammatical category related to time of the situation. It is realized by the inflected form of the verb. There are two tenses: the present tense and the past tense. In the present tense describes a situation as simultaneous with the moment of speaking. The past tense describes the prior moment of speaking. Thus, tenses express the time of a situation related to the situation of the utterance. Aspect is a grammatical category related to the way in which the meaning of a verb is viewed with respect to the time of a situation. There are two aspects in English: the perfect aspect and the progressive aspect, which may combine in a complex verb phrase, and are marked for present or past tense. Greenbuam and Quirk (1990) have further stated that “The progressive focuses on the situation as being in progress at a particular time”. Therefore, it indicates that the situation of time limitation, and it has not been completed.

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According to Rabieb et al (2006), “Most of the time, connectors, before, when, as soon as, after, by the time, etc., are used in past time clauses”. The past simple tense indicates the completed action in the past.

Notions 1. Describing one completed action in the

Examples  We returned home late last night.

past. 2. Describing repeated and completed

 Last year Mit often came to work

actions in the past. 3. Describing a completed action with

late.  Tada was a banker for three years and

duration of time in the past.

then he decided to go abroad.

“The past progressive tense indicates that an activity was in progress at a particular time” as follows:

Notions 1. To indicate that an activity was in progress at a particular time.

Examples  Noi was washing at 9 yesterday.  Pisanu was reading at this moment last night.

2. To indicate that an activity or state was

 Was it still raining when you came

continuing at the time when another activity occurred.

in?  I dropped my watch while I was winding it.

3. To indicate that two or more activities or states were continuing at the same time.



As While

I was cooking, my aunt was reading.

 Sit was cutting grass and Dej was painting the roof.

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2.2

OVERVIEW OF ERRORS 2.2.1

Definition of Error

There are many definitions of errors. According to Dulay, Burt, and Krashen (1982) as cited in Charuporn Pongsiriwet, “Errors are defined as the flawed side of learner speech or writing. They are those parts of conversation and composition that deviate from some selected norm of mature language performance”. Richards and Platt (1997) stated that the meaning of error is the wrong use of a language, word choice or a grammar point in the speech or writing by second language learners. Learners’ errors are grouped according to pronunciation, vocabulary items, grammar and misunderstanding of the message of the speaker. As a result, the students’ learning strategies will be presented when their errors occur.

2.2.2

Error Types Based on Linguistic Category

Dulay, Burt, and Krashen (1982) pointed that many error taxonomies are based on the linguistic item affected by an error. These linguistic category taxonomies are classified according to the language components, including phonology (pronunciation), syntax and morphology (grammar), semantics and lexicon (meaning and vocabulary), and discourse (style). Moreover, the linguistic category taxonomy is used for a reporting tool that organizes error collection by researchers. A surface of strategy taxonomy emphasizes the surface structures of language, namely tense, omission, addition, and misformation. The surface strategy perspective can analyze errors related to identifying cognitive processes. It also makes learners aware of errors so they can produce a language correctly. The most common errors are classified by a surface strategy taxonomy as follows: Firstly, tense errors or grammatical errors refer to the number of errors in second language performance, including syntax and morphology. Secondly, omission errors are characterized by the absence of items that must appear in a well-formed utterance. There are two main types of morphemes: Content morphemes and grammatical morphemes. Firstly, content morphemes consist of the referential meaning of a sentence: noun, verbs, adjectives, adverbs in the sentence.

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Secondly, the grammatical morphemes include noun and verb inflections; for example, “(the –s in birds, the –s in mother’s, the –ed in looked, the –ing in laughing, etc.); verb auxiliaries (is, was, were, am etc.)”. Language learners omit grammatical morphemes more frequently than content morphemes. For instance, it is obvious that L2 learners often use the copula (is, are) and the (-ing) marker in the English acquisition process rather than simple past tense marker (looked). Thus, omission errors are found the early stages of L2 acquisition. Thirdly, addition errors are the opposite of omissions that the presence of items must not appear in a well-formed utterance. Obviously, three types of addition errors are good indicators to some basic rule acquisitions as follows: (a) Double marking is two items marking for the same feature. (b) Regularization is a typical marker adding to a linguistic item that the error is added to exceptional items. (c) Simple addition is neither a double marking nor regularization. It is the use of an item which should not appear in a well-formed utterance. Next, misformation errors are characterized by the use of the wrong form of the morpheme or structure. There are three types of misformations that have been frequently presented, which can be divided into three types as follows: (a) Regularization error is a regular marker is used in place of an irregular one. (b) Archi-form is the selection of one member of a class of forms to represent others in the class. (c) Alternating form is the way to the apparently free alternation of various members of class with each other. Finally, misordering errors are the incorrect placement of morpheme or group of morpheme in an utterance. The errors occur systematically for both L2 and L1 learners The comparative taxonomy classifies errors based on a comparison between the structure of L2 errors and certain other types of constructions. For example, the

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structure of L2 learner’s errors have been compared to that of errors reported for the first language learners. Dulay, Burt and Krashen (1982) further stated that there are four error categories in a comparative taxonomy are developmental errors, ambiguous errors, interlingual errors and other errors as follows: Firstly, developmental errors occur when the learner tries to build up hypotheses about the target language on the basis of limited experience. For example, the omission of the article and the past tense marker are classified as developmental. Secondly, interlingual errors are similar in structure semantically with the phrase or sentence in the learner’s native language. Interlingual errors usually translate the grammatical form of the learner’s phrase or sentence into the learner’s first language. Thirdly, ambiguous errors can be categorized as either developmental or interlingual. These errors reflect the learner’s native language structure. Lastly, other errors are items that do not fit into any other category.

2.2.3

Error Frequency

Norrish (1983) explained that frequency is the number of times an error occurs, which can be classified in two ways basis. Firstly, absolute frequency of an error is the number of times that the error occurs. Secondly, the number of times that the error could have occurred related to the length of the piece of writing. The number of errors depends on the frequency of errors that learners produce. If learners omit, for instance, the third person singular present simple tense the ‘s’ from very verb where it would normally occur. In psychological terms, the rule that states that adding –sending to the verb in the third person singular in the present simple tense is an omission. Obviously, the frequency of error has an interest for teachers because it provides very useful information related to the mastering of grammatical rules by learners. Besides, it can help teachers to plan and develop their teaching more efficiently.

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2.3

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF LEARNERS’ ERRORS According to Dulay, Burt, and Krashen (1982), studying learners’ errors can

have two major purposes are as follows: (1) It provides data from inferences about the nature of the language learning process. (2) It indicates to teachers and curriculum developers which part of the target language students have the most difficulty producing correctly and which error types detract most from a learner’s ability to communicate effectively. Corder (1967) concluded that a learner’s errors are significant in three different ways as follows: (1) It is useful for the teacher to know the learner’s progress. (2) They can provide the researcher information on how the language is learned or acquired, and the strategies or procedures used in the learner’s production. (3) It is a way to the learners of testing hypotheses about the nature of the language by children acquiring their mother tongue and those learning a second language. Learners’ errors provide evidence of the system of the language use at a particular point. The distinction of systematic and nonsystematic errors is important to the production of errors. First, systematic errors of the learner are competence errors, which are able to reconstruct their language knowledge. On the contrary, performance errors are characteristically unsystematic errors; for example, mistakes are the problem of language learning due to memory lapses, physical states, and fatigue.

2.3.1

Error Analysis and Second Language Strategies

Richards (1973) explained that error analysis may be defined as the differences between the way people learn to speak a language and the way native speakers use the language. Second language teaching is often considered an essential component in successful second language learning. The objective of language courses is to lead the learner toward the use of the new language and the differences between the way the learner and a native speaker speaks the language. Error in second

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language learning can be avoided if there is a comparison between the learner’s mother tongue and the target language.

2.3.2

The Causes of Learners’ Errors

Although English is a compulsory subject to serve students’ needs, most Thai students still are weak in English usage. Some of the causes may be from the following factors: (1)

Interference errors caused by the transfer of grammatical elements

from their mother tongue to the target language. (2)

Overgeneralization caused by the learner creates a deviant structure

based on his own experience of other structures in the target language. (3)

Performance errors are unsystematic errors that occur as the result of

such things as memory lapses, tiredness, confusion, or strong emotion. (4)

Communication strategy is an error resulting from the attempt to

communicate in the target language without completely acquiring the grammatical forms. (5)

Teacher-induced error can lead to errors resulting from teaching

procedures contained in the text or employed by the teachers. 2.4

RELEVANT RESEARCH STUDIES ON ERROR ANALYSIS 2.4.1

Error Analysis Studies in the Use of Tenses in Thailand

Preeyaporn Sorattayatorn (2003) carried out a study on errors related to the use of past tense markers such as the irregular past and regular past, and the past copula “be” to reduce errors by the second-year pre-cadets (section 15). The subjects were divided into four levels: namely A, B, C, and D by acquiring the recent grades of reading and writing courses. The findings revealed that performance of level A was the highest score in terms of the ability to supply correct morphemes in a cloze passage. In addition, level A was reached with 91% accuracy for the suppliance of irregular verbs, the regular verbs (88%), and the tense-marked copula “be” (87%). In

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relation to average percentage of errors, no level was superior in type of errors: namely overgeneralization, tense omission, violation of subject verb agreement rules directly related to the past copula “be”, and misrealization of past tense verbal inflections. However, the average of level A’s errors was less than the other groups. Therefore, it was evidenced that the low proficiency in English found the problem of past tense markers within a sentence structure. Yuttasak Arakkitsakul (2008) conducted research on error analysis of the present perfect tense by the sixty first year students at Nakorn Si Thammarat Rajabhat University. The results revealed that the percentage of correct answers was about 60% in using an adverbs of time in the present perfect tense, understanding the aspect of present perfect tense and past participle verb, and the ability to use subject and verb agreement in the present perfect tense. Moreover, the findings of the study emphasize that the present perfect tense is still the major problem for Thai students because the percentage of correct answers was less than 50%. Similarly, Upsorn Tawilapakul (2001) did a study on “The use of English Tense by Thai University Students”. The subjects of this research were 75 first-year students studying in the Southeast Asian Studies program at Thammasat University. They were divided into three classes, with all of them taking EL172 at the Language Institute of the university. The instrument was a translation test. The students were assigned to translate from Thai to English 8 sentences, 4 with time markers (TM) and 4 without time markers (s TM), and a short passage within one hour. The results of the study revealed the following: 1. Most of the use of time markers resulted in negative transfer to the use of English tense by Thai students. The lower scores in TM translation (60.06%) were the largest number, compared with TM (28.0%) and the short passage (40.0%) translations. 2. All errors occurred in the translation test after analyzing, and it was found that the causes of these errors were: transfer, overgeneralization, ignorance of rule restrictions, incomplete application of rules, and false concepts hypothesized. 3. In this case, English proficiency had an impact on the use of English tense by the students and arose from personal variation.

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Additionally, Charas Ubol (1981) conducted research on “An Error Analysis Study of English Compositions by Thai Students”. The results of the study revealed a correlation between the free composition and translation error types written by Prince of Songkla University students. The error classification consisted of three main types: 1) grammatical or structural errors, 2) lexical errors, and 3) errors of style. Moreover, the evidence showed that the third-year students made fewer total errors than the firstyear students. It showed that the significant errors were less than in a single category in free composition as opposed to translation. Thus, this might be evidence of an avoidance strategy. Similarly, fewer errors were found in the single category by thirdyear students as opposed to first-year students, which might be taken as evidence for successful teaching. Similarly, Woranuch Saengnimnuan (1999) did a study on the students’ learning strategies of English tenses and aspects as an example of learning English as a foreign language from the perspective of grammar. The findings of the study revealed that the students’ proficiency was low in the forms of tenses and aspects at the production level by upper secondary level students. In addition, the students’ tended to use memorization, generalization, and transferring of some structures and linguistic culture from the first language as learning strategies.

2.2.4

Error Analysis Studies in the Use of Tenses in Foreign Countries.

Kristiane Durich (2005) carried out a study on “The Acquisition of the English Tense and Aspect System by German Adult Learners. The results showed a higher production rate of errors by German adult learners’ acquisition of the English tense and aspect system. The study revealed a difference between the two tense and aspect systems in English and German. This might cause errors in the production of target language utterances, which can transfer from the learners’ mother tongue. Furthermore, the study provided the application of cognitive procedures in production and communication strategies in the production of texts. Bardovi-Harling (2000) concluded morpheme studies, including verbal morphology as grammatical morphemes with the plural and possessive, prepositions, articles, auxiliaries and the copula.

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In summary, the previous research findings from both Thai and foreign countries’ scholars reflected the studying of English tense acquisition and error analysis of English tense in terms of regular and irregular verb form, tense markers, tense production and subject verb agreement analysis.

CHAPTER THREE METHODOLOGY

This chapter describes: (1) the subjects, (2) the materials, (3) the procedures used in the collection and analysis of the data, and (4) the data analysis.

3.1

SUBJECTS The data was collected from 60 first year students in academic year 2010 from

various faculties at Silpakorn University. All subjects were studying in the first year and had passed the entrance examination. The students had to meet qualifications of the admission requirements at Silpakorn University. The target population was equally selected from 30 students majoring in English and 30 students in non-English majors; most of them had studied the English fundamental subject as a compulsory subject. The participants were classified based on their average scores on the English O-Net national test result. The first year students who had taken the English fundamental subject had studied the past simple and past continuous tenses in this course. This study tested their ability and understanding level of past simple and past continuous tenses production to investigate error categories, determine error frequency and to analyze the cause of errors by Thai EFL students.

3.2

MATERIALS The purpose of this section is to describe materials and techniques employed

in the gathering of the data. The material used as the research instrument for data collection was composed of an English grammar test: Section 1 had 20 items of sentence completion; Section 2 had 20 items of conversations, and Section 3 had 10 items in a cloze passage. The total test items consisted of 50 items in three main are as follows: 3.2.1

The sentence completion test consisted of 20 items in section 1 and

was adapted from Marjorie Fuchs and Margaret Bonner’s Grammar Express (2001).

18

This part tested the ability to produce the past simple or past continuous tenses in each sentence. 3.2.2

The second section was a conversation test, which consisted of 20

items. This was to test students’ ability to distinguish and check competence in past simple and past continuous tenses. 3.2.3

The last section was a cloze passage test, which consisted of 10 items

with filling in the blank. This section was to test their production of past simple and past continuous tenses. All sections were administered according to the components of English grammar structure. In addition, every item was taken from Marjorie Fuchs and Margaret Bonner’s Grammar Express (2001). Importantly, the English grammar test was developed to gather data and was analyzed by descriptive statistics to obtain the students’ problems and grammatical errors. 3.2.4

The pilot study

A pilot study was conducted with 10 first year students from Silpakorn University who were not among the population for the study. The purpose of the pilot study was to develop the three tests and to check the appropriate time for the test. All of them had studied English grammar tenses in high school. The results of the pilot test showed that many items were ambiguous. Therefore, the test items were developed and readapted to make them understandable, with a foreign teacher helping to recheck the correctness.

3.3

DATA COLLECTION All 60 subjects in this study were requested to complete the English grammar

test in the classroom. The testing time was 30 minutes for three sections to be completed and handed in immediately. The data were collected in January to February 2011. The subjects were taught the past simple and past continuous tenses rules in the English fundamental subject that was compulsory for first year students at Silpakorn University. The study employed quantitative methodology of data collection and data analysis. The subjects were divided into two groups, each consisting of 30 English

19

and non-English major students. The test was divided into three sections: sentence completion, conversation and cloze passage, to measure students’ ability and production in using the past simple and past continuous tenses.

3.4

DATA ANALYSIS The data analysis of the study was categorized into three main parts, an

analysis of error categories, the frequency of error production, and the causes of problems in the production of the past simple and past continuous tenses as follows: 3.4.1

The output on error production based on the four errors categories:

tense, omission, addition and misformation by English and non-English major students. 3.4.2

The frequency of errors was described by descriptive statistics to report

the frequency and percentage in the study by SPSS program. 3.4.3

The errors were analyzed to seek the causes of problems in the use of

the past simple and past continuous tenses to improve the knowledge of English grammar.

CHAPTER FOUR RESULTS

The previous chapter explained the methodology, subjects, the materials, the procedures used in the collection and analysis of the data, and the data analysis. This chapter reports the results obtained from the error analysis in the English grammar test by the first year students at Silpakorn University. The English grammar test results were analyzed and classified according to the students’ ability to use the past simple and past continuous tenses: auxiliary verb, regular and irregular verbs. All of the past tense verb errors are shown in the error categories along with the frequency of errors in the English grammar test by the students in the following table:

Table 1. Summary of Frequencies and Percentages of Error Categories: Tense, Omission, Addition and Misformation

Error types Min

English major

Non-English major

(N=30)

(N=30)

Max

Mean

S.D.

Min

Max

Mean

S.D.

Tense

1

12

6.03

2.895

5

17

10.13

3.767

Omission

0

4

1.20

0.961

0

33

10.83

8.797

Addition

0

3

0.43

0.774

0

9

3.07

2.449

Misformation

0

6

2.17

1.416

1

16

4.70

2.818

As can be seen, table 1 shows a summary of error categories: tense, omission, addition and misformation for both English (N=30) and non-English major students (N=30), who produced four main error types. It shows that the most of tense and omission errors were made by non-English majors, while English major made more tense errors. For English major students, the frequency of tense errors was at the high rate as the percentage of mean was 6.03%, SD. 2.895%. The second error of misformation had the percentage mean at 2.17%, SD. 1.416%; the third error type was omission

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error, with the percentage of the mean at 1.2%, SD. 0.961%. Addition errors were the last category of frequency, with the percentage of the mean at 0.43%, SD. 0.774%. Unlike the English major group, the non-English majors produced a frequency of omission errors at the highest rate, with the mean of 10.83%, SD. 8.797%. The frequency of tense errors was at a mean of 10.13%, SD. 3.767%. In addition, the third error type of misformation errors had the percentage of the mean at 4.70%, SD. 2.818%. Finally, addition errors had the percentage of mean at 10.83%, SD. 8.797%.

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Table 2. Summary of Frequencies and Percentages of Tense Errors Found in the English Grammar Test Tense Major group English

Valid

Non-Englis h

Valid

1 2 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Total 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Total

Frequency 1 2 9 4 3 2 2 2 2 2 1 30 4 3 2 2 3 3 2 2 3 1 1 3 1 30

Percent 3.3 6.7 30.0 13.3 10.0 6.7 6.7 6.7 6.7 6.7 3.3 100.0 13.3 10.0 6.7 6.7 10.0 10.0 6.7 6.7 10.0 3.3 3.3 10.0 3.3 100.0

Valid Percent 3.3 6.7 30.0 13.3 10.0 6.7 6.7 6.7 6.7 6.7 3.3 100.0 13.3 10.0 6.7 6.7 10.0 10.0 6.7 6.7 10.0 3.3 3.3 10.0 3.3 100.0

Cumulative Percent 3.3 10.0 40.0 53.3 63.3 70.0 76.7 83.3 90.0 96.7 100.0 13.3 23.3 30.0 36.7 46.7 56.7 63.3 70.0 80.0 83.3 86.7 96.7 100.0

According to table 2, the English major students (N=30) produced less tense errors than the non-English students (N=30). The number of tense errors by English majors was 12 items, while non-English students made 17 tense errors. Therefore, the frequency of errors by English major students was first ranked on 4 items at the percentage of 30%, with the second rank order 5 items at the percentage of 13.3%, followed by the third rank at 6 items at the percentage of 10%. In contrast, non-English major students made more tense errors than English major at 17 items. The first rank order of non-English major students was 5 items at the percentage of 13.3%, the second rank order was 13, 10, 9 and 6 items at the

23

percentage of 10%, followed by the third rank order of 12, 11, 8, and 7 items at the percentage of 6.7%.

Table 3. Summary of Frequencies and Percentages of Omission Errors Found in English Grammar Test Om ission Major group English

Valid

Non-Englis h

Valid

0 1 2 3 4 Total 0 1 2 3 4 6 7 10 13 14 15 16 17 18 22 25 30 33 Total

Frequency 7 13 8 1 1 30 1 1 3 2 3 3 3 1 1 2 1 1 3 1 1 1 1 1 30

Percent 23.3 43.3 26.7 3.3 3.3 100.0 3.3 3.3 10.0 6.7 10.0 10.0 10.0 3.3 3.3 6.7 3.3 3.3 10.0 3.3 3.3 3.3 3.3 3.3 100.0

Valid P ercent 23.3 43.3 26.7 3.3 3.3 100.0 3.3 3.3 10.0 6.7 10.0 10.0 10.0 3.3 3.3 6.7 3.3 3.3 10.0 3.3 3.3 3.3 3.3 3.3 100.0

Cumulative Percent 23.3 66.7 93.3 96.7 100.0 3.3 6.7 16.7 23.3 33.3 43.3 53.3 56.7 60.0 66.7 70.0 73.3 83.3 86.7 90.0 93.3 96.7 100.0

As can be seen, table 3 shows that non-English major students (N=30) made more errors of omission than English major students (N=30). The number of omission errors by English major was 4 items, while non-English students made errors on 33 items. The first rank order for the frequency of omission errors by English major students was 1 item at the percentage 43.3%, the second rank order was 2 items at the percentage of 26.7%, followed by the third rank order with no errors, at the percentage of 23.3%.

24

Moreover, among the top three omission errors by non-English major students, the frequency of errors were 17, 7, 6, 4, 2 items at the percentage of 10%. The second rank order of errors was 14 and 3 items at the percentage of 16.7%, followed by the last rank order at 33, 30, 25, 22, 18, 16, 15, 13, 10, 1 and 0 items at the percentage of 3.3%.

Table 4. Summary of Frequencies and Percentages of Addition Errors Found in English Grammar Test Addition Major group English

Valid

Non-Englis h

Valid

0 1 2 3 Total 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 9 Total

Frequency 21 6 2 1 30 3 8 4 4 3 1 4 2 1 30

Percent 70.0 20.0 6.7 3.3 100.0 10.0 26.7 13.3 13.3 10.0 3.3 13.3 6.7 3.3 100.0

Valid Percent 70.0 20.0 6.7 3.3 100.0 10.0 26.7 13.3 13.3 10.0 3.3 13.3 6.7 3.3 100.0

Cumulative Percent 70.0 90.0 96.7 100.0 10.0 36.7 50.0 63.3 73.3 76.7 90.0 96.7 100.0

Table 4 reveals that the English major students (N=30) produced fewer errors than non-English majors (N=30) in the category of addition errors. The most frequent number of errors was 3 at the percentage of 3.3% for English majors, while nonEnglish major made 9 errors at the percentage of 3.3%. As can be seen, the top three omission errors by non-English major were: the 1 item as the percentage of 26.7%, the second rank order was at 2, 3, 6 items as the percentage of 13.3%, and the third rank order was at 4 and 0 item at the percentage of 10%. For English major students, the first rank order was no errors at the percentage of 70%, the second rank order was 1 item at the percentage of 20%, and the third rank order was 2 items at the percentage of 6.7%.

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Table 5. Summary of Frequencies and Percentages of Misformation Errors Found in English Grammar Test Misformation Major group English

Valid

Non-Englis h

Valid

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 Total 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 16 Total

Frequency 2 9 9 5 3 1 1 30 1 3 9 3 5 4 2 2 1 30

Percent 6.7 30.0 30.0 16.7 10.0 3.3 3.3 100.0 3.3 10.0 30.0 10.0 16.7 13.3 6.7 6.7 3.3 100.0

Valid Percent 6.7 30.0 30.0 16.7 10.0 3.3 3.3 100.0 3.3 10.0 30.0 10.0 16.7 13.3 6.7 6.7 3.3 100.0

Cumulative Percent 6.7 36.7 66.7 83.3 93.3 96.7 100.0 3.3 13.3 43.3 53.3 70.0 83.3 90.0 96.7 100.0

Table 5 shows that the number of misformation errors was different between English major (N=30) and non-English major students (N=30). The number of misformation errors by English major students was 6 items at the percentage of 3.3%, whereas non-English major produced 16 errors at the percentage of 3.3%. The most frequent errors of the highest rank order by English majors were 1 and 2 items at the percentage of 30%, the second rank order was 3 items at the percentage of 16.7%, and the last rank order was 4 items at the percentage of 10%. Unlike English majors, non-English major had the highest rank order frequency of 3 items at the percentage of 30%, the second rank order was 5 items at the percentage of 16.7%, and the last rank order was 6 items at the percentage of 13.3%.

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Table 6. Summary of Frequencies and Percentages of Past Simple Tense Errors Found in English Grammar Test Past Simple Tense Major group English

Valid

Non-Englis h

Valid

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 8 10 Total 1 2 3 4 5 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 18 19 20 Total

Frequency 4 5 7 5 5 1 1 1 1 30 1 1 2 1 3 4 3 1 3 3 1 1 2 2 1 1 30

Percent 13.3 16.7 23.3 16.7 16.7 3.3 3.3 3.3 3.3 100.0 3.3 3.3 6.7 3.3 10.0 13.3 10.0 3.3 10.0 10.0 3.3 3.3 6.7 6.7 3.3 3.3 100.0

Valid Percent 13.3 16.7 23.3 16.7 16.7 3.3 3.3 3.3 3.3 100.0 3.3 3.3 6.7 3.3 10.0 13.3 10.0 3.3 10.0 10.0 3.3 3.3 6.7 6.7 3.3 3.3 100.0

Cumulative Percent 13.3 30.0 53.3 70.0 86.7 90.0 93.3 96.7 100.0 3.3 6.7 13.3 16.7 26.7 40.0 50.0 53.3 63.3 73.3 76.7 80.0 86.7 93.3 96.7 100.0

Table 6 shows the highest number of errors in past simple production by English majors (N=30) was 10 items at the percentage of 3.3% while non-English major (N=30) made 20 errors at the percentage of 3.3%. The top three rank order for English majors in terms of frequency was 2 items at the percentage of 23.3%, the second rank order of errors was 4, 3 and 1 items at the percentage of 16.7%. The third rank order was no errors at the percentage of 13.3%.

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Table 7. Summary of Frequencies and Percentages of Past Continuous Tense Errors Found in English Grammar Test

Past Continuous Tense Major group English

Valid

Non-Englis h

Valid

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 17 Total 7 8 9 10 11 12 14 15 17 18 20 22 23 24 25 26 Total

Frequency 1 1 3 1 2 6 4 1 4 2 2 2 1 30 1 1 1 3 1 1 3 1 3 1 1 1 3 2 6 1 30

Percent 3.3 3.3 10.0 3.3 6.7 20.0 13.3 3.3 13.3 6.7 6.7 6.7 3.3 100.0 3.3 3.3 3.3 10.0 3.3 3.3 10.0 3.3 10.0 3.3 3.3 3.3 10.0 6.7 20.0 3.3 100.0

Valid Percent 3.3 3.3 10.0 3.3 6.7 20.0 13.3 3.3 13.3 6.7 6.7 6.7 3.3 100.0 3.3 3.3 3.3 10.0 3.3 3.3 10.0 3.3 10.0 3.3 3.3 3.3 10.0 6.7 20.0 3.3 100.0

Cumulative Percent 3.3 6.7 16.7 20.0 26.7 46.7 60.0 63.3 76.7 83.3 90.0 96.7 100.0 3.3 6.7 10.0 20.0 23.3 26.7 36.7 40.0 50.0 53.3 56.7 60.0 70.0 76.7 96.7 100.0

As can be seen, table 7 presents the errors of past continuous tense production by English majors (N=30) and non-English major students (N=30). The number of errors was 17 by English majors, whereas non-English major produced 26 errors. The first rank order of errors by English majors was 6 at the percentage of 20%, the second rank order was 9 and 7 items at the percentage of 13.3%, and the last

28

rank order was 3 error items at the percentage of 10%. Unlike English majors, nonEnglish major’s had 25 errors as first ranked at the percentage of 20%, the second rank order was 23, 17, 14 and 10 items at the percentage of 10%, and the third rank was 24 items at the percentage of 6.7%. The findings of the study will be summarized and discussed in the next chapter.

CHAPTER FIVE CONCLUSIONS, DISCUSSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

This chapter presents (1) a summary of the study, (2) a summary of the findings, (3) discussion of learners’ errors, (4) the conclusion, and (5) recommendations for further research.

5.1

SUMMARY OF THE STUDY This section summarizes the objectives of the study and the subjects, materials,

and procedures. 5.1.1

Objectives of the Study

In this study, the objectives were to investigate the error types of past simple and past continuous tenses based on the four categories: tense, omission, addition and misformation errors. The production of errors indicated the frequency and the percentage of each grammatical error type. Therefore, the most frequent errors show a significant problem in the language learning of Thai EFL learners. Furthermore, the study analyzed the causes of grammatical errors in the production of past simple and past continuous tenses in order to reduce their errors. The error types indicate problematic language learning as follows: 1. Accuracy of tense usage in the past simple and past continuous tenses. 2. Ability to distinguish the past simple and past continuous tenses in each sentence with correctness. 3. Regular and irregular of past tense form used in the past simple tense. 4. Auxiliary verb “was/ were” with subject agreement. 5.1.2

Subjects, Materials, and Procedures

The subjects in this study were 60 students who were first year students at Silpakorn University in the 2010 academic year. The subjects were divided into two groups, English majors and non-English majors, according to their average of O-Net scores in English. They all had taken the English fundamental subject, which taught past simple and past continuous tense usage in the classroom. Moreover, the research instrument was an English grammar test for data collection. The English grammar test

30

was adapted from Marjorie Fuchs and Margaret Bonner’s Grammar Express (2001). The test was a production test, which consisted of sentence completion of 20 items, conversation of 20 items, and a cloze passage of 10 items. The subjects were requested to complete the test in the classroom within half an hour. The errors were analyzed in terms of the frequency, percentage, mean and standard deviation in the production of past simple and past continuous tenses by the subjects.

5.2

SUMMARY OF THE FINDINGS The results of the study can be summarized as follows: 5.2.1

In terms of the frequency of the four types errors, the English majors

produced tense errors at a high rate of 12 items at the mean of 6.03%, S.D.2.895% followed by 6 misformation errors at the mean of 2.17%, S.D.1.416%, 4 omission errors 4 at the mean of 1.2%, S.D.0.961%, and 4 addition errors at the mean of 0.43%, S.D.0.774%. In contrast, non-English majors produced omission errors up to 33 items at the mean of 10.83%, S.D.8.797% followed by tense errors at 17 items at the mean of 10.13%, S.D.3.767%, 16 misformation errors at mean of 4.70%, S.D.2.818%, and 9 addition errors at the mean 3.07%, S.D.2.449%. 5.2.2

The tense errors were divided into two tenses according to the past

simple and past continuous tenses in this study. The results shows that non-English major produced past simple tense errors on 20 items at the percentage of 3.3%, while English majors produced 10 errors at the percentage of 3.3%. Interestingly, both groups of students produced errors in the past continuous tense rather than the past simple tense. The results show that non-English majors produced errors up to 26 items at the percentage of 3.3%, while English major produced errors on 17 items at the percentage of 3.3%.

5.3

DISCUSSION This section discusses the findings of the present study concerning the types of

grammatical errors, the frequency of grammatical errors and the causes of grammatical errors in the production of past simple and past continuous tenses by Thai EFL learners based on the three research questions as follows:

31

5.3.1

Research Question I: What types of grammatical errors are

frequently found in the production of past simple and past continuous tenses by Thai EFL students? Based on the four types of grammatical errors, tense, omission, addition and misformation, previous studies have found that Thai EFL/ ESL learners produced more tense errors than the others. The significance of errors in the tense production was reported in a large number of previous studies (e.g., Bamrung Torut, 1991; Chattasarut Malayomonton, 1998; Upsorn Tawilapakul, 2001; Ravitpim Itiravivong, 2002; Jittiporn Muttavankul, 2003; Brown & De Villiers, 1973; Dulay & Burt, 1974, and Lasen Freeman, 1975, as cited in Yuttasak Arakkitsakul, 2008). Errors in the use of tense were the most problematic area among Thai EFL students. For example, incorrect subjectverb agreement in the past simple tenses, regular and irregular past forms, the misuse of the auxiliary verbs ‘be’, and progressive aspect-ing. As a result, it can be concluded that the most frequent types of grammatical errors identified in this study are similar to the previous research, which revealed that tense errors were the biggest problem for Thai EFL learners. 5.3.2 Research Question II: What are frequencies of each error in the production of past simple and past continuous tenses by Thai EFL students? The findings of the study of Charuporn Pongsiriwet (2001) revealed that the analysis of grammatical errors show the most frequent types to be nouns, pronouns, tense, articles, prepositions, word form, verb formation, subject-verb agreement, and fragments. The results show that the most frequent errors occurred in subject-verb agreement, followed by verb formation, and tense. Moreover, the relationship between grammatical accuracy and discourse features----cohesion and coherence----were examined by composition. The findings revealed that students who are good at grammatical accuracy are not necessarily good at cohesion, but might be good at coherence in evaluating the quality of writing. However, the results mentioned above are not in line with the findings of the present study. The findings of the study show the highest production of tense errors in the target language. As a result, some of the most frequent errors made by Thai EFL learners seemed to arise from mother tongue interference.

32

5.3.3 Research Question III: What are the causes of grammatical errors in the production of past simple and past continuous tenses by Thai EFL learners? With regard to the causes of grammatical errors found in the present study, it seems that the interference from Thai may be one source of errors. According to Richards (1974), the major causes of errors in language learning are interference from the mother tongue to the target language. The difference of Thai and English in the grammatical elements can lead to errors in the second language. For instance, errors occurred in the use of tenses, subject-verb agreement, progressive aspect, and the use of time tense markers (i.e., regular and irregular past tense). Another cause is performance error because some of Thai EFL learners seem confused about the use of past simple and past continuous tenses. Finally, teaching procedures or materials can lead to errors because some of them are not effective or appropriate for Thai EFL students.

5.4

CONCLUSION The following conclusions can be drawn from the discussion above. 5.4.1

The most frequent error type was tense errors for both English and non-

English majors. Errors are still problematic for Thai EFL learners in the production of the verb tenses: regular, irregular and progressive aspect. Although the first year students in the study had studied English grammar as a compulsory subject, the results of this study show the tense errors occurred at a high rate. As a result, it can be concluded that tense errors by the first year students in the present study reflected their English proficiency in grammar. 5.4.2

The frequencies of each error type play an important role in the language

learning of Thai EFL learners. The results of the study can be useful to teachers for materials and teaching improvement. In addition, teachers can focus on the weak points of the students to enhance their English proficiency. 5.4.3

The causes of learners’ errors consisted of interference error from the

mother tongue to the target language, performance error, and teaching techniques. Differences between Thai and English in terms of grammatical elements can lead to errors in the second language.

33

5.5

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH Based on the findings and conclusions of this study, the following

recommendations are made for further research. 5.5.1

In an attempt to analyze the frequency of error types in the English

grammar test, this study was limited by the four categories in the production test. Future study should analyze more error types to get more in-depth information. 5.5.2

This study included only a production test. Therefore, the use of a

composition or writing test, or an interview test, would make the results more reliable and valid. 5.5.3

There was a small number of subjects in the study, with only the first

year students at Silpakorn University being selected. A larger sample size at other levels at different universities, both in Bangkok and upcountry, would lead to stronger conclusions. 5.5.4

To investigate the results of the study effectively, future studies should

do a pre-test and post-test to test the students’ background knowledge before testing.

REFERENCES Bardovi, H. K. (2000). Tense and aspect in second language acquisition: Form, meaning and use. Michigan: Blackwell. Celce-Murcia, M., & Larsen-Freeman, D. (1999). The grammar book: An ESL/EFL teacher’s course (2nd ed.). Boston: Heinle & Heinle. Charas Ubol. (1981). An error analysis of English compositions by Thai students. Singapore: SEAMEO Regional Language Center. Charuporn Pongsiriwet. (2001). Relationships among grammatical accuracy, discourse features, and the quality of second language writing: The case of Thai EFL learners. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, West Virginia, University, Retrieved from http://scholar.google.com Comrie, B. (1976). Aspect: An introduction to the study of verbal aspect and related problems. London: Cambridge University Press. Comrie, B. (1976). Tense. London: Cambridge University Press. Corder, S. P. (1981). Error analysis and interlanguage. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Dulay, H. C., Burt, M., & Krashen, S. (1982). Language two. New York: Oxford University Press. Dulay, H. C., Burt, M., & Krashen, S. (1975). New directions in second language learning, teaching and bilingual education. TESOL Ninth Annual Convention. Washington, D.C.,: Georgetown University. Fuchs, M. & Bonner, M. (2001). Grammar express. New York: Addison Wesley Longman. Greenbuam, S., & Quirk, R. (1973). A concise grammar of contemporary English. Seminar Press, a division of Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc. Greenbaum, S., & Quirk, R. (1990). A student’s grammar of the English language. London: Longman Group (UK). Lado, R. (1957). Linguistics across cultures. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Mackey, W. F. (1965). Language teaching analysis. London: Longmans, Green.

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Nickel, G., & Nehls, D. (1982). Error analysis, contrastive linguistics and second language learning. Paper from the 6th Internat. Congress of Applied Linguistics Lund 1981. Heidelberg: Julius groos Verlag. Norrish, J. (1983). Language learners and their errors. London: Macmillan. Oller, J. W. & Richards, J. C. (1973). Focus on the learner: Pragmatic perspectives for the language teacher: Newbury House Publishers. Odlin, T. (1989). Language transfer: Cross-linguistic influence in language learning. New York: Cambridge University Press. Preeyaporn Sorattayatorn. (2003). Performance analysis of the second year precadets (section 15) use of English past tense markers and subject-verb agreement directly related to the past tense forms of the copula “be.” Unpublished master’s research paper, Thammasat University, Language Institute, Teaching English as a Foreign Language. Quirk, R., Greenbuam, S., Leech, G., & Svartvik, J. (1985). A comprehensive grammar of the English language. London: Longman. Rabieb NaKalasin, Kanitta Utawanit, & Yura Iemcheun Y. (2004). Practical English structure: A textbook for advanced English grammar (10th ed.). Bangkok: Thammasat University Press. Reed, C. E. (1971). The learning of language. New York: Meredith Corporation. Richards, J. C. (1973). Error analysis and second language strategies. Focus on the learner: Pragmatic perfectives for the language teacher. Rowley, MA: Newbury House. Richards, J. C. (1974). Error analysis: Perspectives on second language acquisition. London: Longman Group. Richards, J. C., & Platt, J. (1977). Language teaching and applied linguistics. Edinburgh: Addison Wesley Longman. Tarone, E., & Yule, G. (1989). Focus on the language learner. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Upsorn Tawilapakul. (2001). The use of English tense by Thai University students. Thammasat University. Woranuch Saengnimnuan. (1999). A study of students’ learning strategies for English tenses and aspects among upper secondary level students. Unpublished

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master’s thesis, Ramkamhaeng University, Communicative English, Retrieved from TDC database. Yuttasak Arakkitsakul (2008). An error analysis of present perfect tense: A case study of freshman students at Nakhon Si Thammarat Rajabhat University. Unpublished master’s research paper, Thammasat University, Language Institute, Teaching English as a Foreign Language.

APPENDIX A English Grammar Test

This test is a part of an Independent study to be submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the Degree of Master of Arts in English for Careers, Language Institute, Thammasat University. This test is being conducted to investigate the comprehension of Past Simple and Past Continuous production by the first year students at Silpakorn University. This test will cover two main parts: • Part I:

Personal Information

• Part II:

Production test of Past Simple or Past Continuous tense

The test will take 30 minutes. To accomplish this research, the researcher would like to ask you for your kind cooperation in completing this test. The scores obtained from this test will be kept confidential and used for academic purposes only. Part I: Personal Information

Directions: 2.

Please mark  in the box  on the selected answer.

Gender

 Male 3.

Age ____________ years

4.

What is your major?

English

 Female

 Non-English (Please specify):____________

5.

Which faculty do you study at Silpakorn University? ___________________

6.

What is your O-Net score (English subject)? ________________

7.

When do you start to study English language?

 Kindergarten

 Primary school

 Secondary school

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Part II: Production Test

Directions: Decide whether the Past Simple or Past Continuous should be used in each gap.

1.

Sara ………………… (not hear) the phone. She ……………….. (sleep).

2.

Rick ……………….. (leave) class early because he ………………. (has) a headache.

3.

As soon as the light ………………… (turn) red, she ………………… (stop) the car.

4.

They …………………... (cook) when the fire alarm ………………….. (ring).

5.

John ………………. (read) the paper when I …………………. (interrupt) him.

6.

I ………………… (not watch) TV last night. I ………………… (study) for a test.

7.

They ………………. (watch) TV while I ……………….. (read).

8.

Last night at 8.00 pm. I …………………….. (watch) TV.

9.

The doctor …………………. (call) this morning while you ………………… (sleep).

10.

It ……………….. (rain) when the game ………………… (begin).

11.

In the photo, Fritz ……………………. (wear) a hat.

39

Directions: Complete the appropriate verb form of Past Simple or Past Continuous tense for each item. Conversation: A police officer is interviewing two witnesses of a traffic accident.

Officer:

.............you

(stand)..................here

when

the

accident

(occur)

................? Witness 1:

Yes. We (wait) ............... at the bus stop when we first (notice) ........... the car.

Officer:

.......... the car (speed) ................ when it (get) ................ to the intersection?

Witness 1:

Yes. It (go) ................. very fast when it (reach) .................... the corner.

Witness 2:

No! Those men (cross) ............ against a red light when the car (hit) …............. them.

Officer:

.......... the driver (stop) ................. when he (see) .................. the men?

Witness 1:

No.

He (talk) ................... on his cell phone while he (drive)

.................. That’s why he (not stop) ..................... in time. Witness 2:

But the men (not pay) ..................... attention while they (walk) .....................!

40

Passage: Complete the appropriate verb form of Past Simple or Past Continuous tense for each item.

Yesterday, a man (talk) ......................on his cell phone while he (drive) ...................his car. Maybe he (check) ...................... his daily planner while he (make) ....................his next appointment. Certainly, he (not concentrate) ................... on the road when the light suddenly (turn) ……............ red. The two men in the street (try) .....................to jump out of the way when they (see) .....................him, but it (be) ...................too late. Last year, the City Council (not pass) ....................the “talking and driving law.” We need that law!

 Thank you for your kind cooperation 

APPENDIX B

Answer Key

Section I: Sentence completion 1. did not hear/ was sleeping 2. left/ had 3. turned/ stopped 4. were cooking/ rang 5. was reading/ interrupted 6. did not watch/ was studying 7. were watching/ was reading 8. was watching 9. called/ were sleeping 10. was raining/ began 11. was wearing

Section II: Conversation 1. were standing/ occurred

6. did stop/ saw

2. were waiting/ noticed

7. was talking/ was driving

3. was speeding/ got

8. did not stop

4. was going/ reached

9. did not pay/ were walking

5. were crossing/ hit

Section III: Passage 1. was talking

6. turned

2. was driving

7. tried

3. was checking

8. saw

4. was making

9. was

5. was not concentrating

10. did not pass