English Errors in Swedish Upper Secondary School : A study of grammatical errors and errors as a result of transfer, produced by Swedish Upper secondary students

Detta är en Kandidat-uppsats från Högskolan i Gävle/Avdelningen för humaniora

Sammanfattning: This is a study that employs error analysis to investigate written production in English, by Swedish upper secondary learners of English, in order to determine which linguistic errors most commonly occur amongst this group, and to compare the results between first-year students and third-year students for a possible indication of which error types continue to occur throughout upper secondary school. The error categories included in this study are grammatical errors and errors as a result of transfer. The variable of gender will also be taken into account, due to the statistics and previous research that show female students tend to achieve higher results in academics. The purpose of the study is to gain a better understanding of how Swedish upper secondary learners acquire English, and to uncover which areas are most challenging for them, in the hopes of highlighting areas within ELT that may need revision. The participants of the study are students attending Swedish upper secondary schools, year 1 and 3. The analyzed data was collected from the Uppsala Learner English Corpus (ULEC), which consists of texts produced by Swedish learners of English attending middle school and upper secondary school.     The results show that certain error categories and types are consistently challenging for both first-year students and third-year students, which provides an indication of which areas in ELT might be lacking. Within the grammatical error category, all groups demonstrated a significant lack of knowledge pertaining to subject-verb agreement, as well as prepositions, which are both to a certain degree attributed to the first language; meaning, they may be the result of transfer. The male students were shown to outperform the female students; however, the female third-year students produced fewer errors than their male counterparts, which suggests a faster progression. The male third-year students were shown to have the same error rate as the male first-year students, which suggests a slower progression. While the third-year students produced fewer errors overall, the error types they struggled the most with are the same error types most commonly occurring in the first-year group, suggesting pedagogical remediation is needed.

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