Improving Language Pedagogy through Exploration of Learners’ Errors: An Examination of Undergraduates’ Written Communication

Fizza Farrukh


One major part of language learning pedagogy includes identifying and rectifying discrepancies while communicating through the target language. In such educational settings, the importance of understanding learners’ errors becomes undeniable for both the pupil and pedagogue. Keeping this in forefront, the current investigation sampled two-hundred and ten emails jotted down by ESL (‘English as a Second Language’) students to their teachers. This comparative investigation divided the learners’ emails into two groups; First Semester and Fourth Semester, enrolled in MA English at COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Virtual Campus, Islamabad. Utilizing Corder’s Model (1967) and Sawalmeh’s Categorization (2013), the emails were scrutinized and the results established that selected Pakistani learners commit nine different errors regularly in their electronic mail communiqué. Moreover, these outputs were comparatively studied utilizing the statistical software of SPSS (Version 16.0). These results highlighted a significant difference between the two semesters, which revealed a considerable reduction of errors in the learners’ language use as they move from first to fourth semester of the prescribed degree program. Additionally, Richards’ framework (1974) for deciphering source of learners’ errors was employed, which depicted that the first semester students’ first language (Urdu) frequently interferes when they use the second language (English) in writing emails. Meanwhile, the fourth semester students’ language errors majorly contained deviant structures or ignorance of target language’s (English) rules. Considering these findings, the study proposes similar studies to be conducted on other institutes’ pupils and also recommends practical methodologies like corrective feedback for teachers, in aiding learners to fortify their command on English language.

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