Common English grammatical writing errors among Namibian Grade 7 learners

Thumbnail Image
Emvula, Hannah Monica
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of the Free State
The writing component for English Second Language (ESL) learners is a challenge in most Namibian schools. Learning the complexity of the English grammar through writing remains a challenge for many learners in schools especially with regards to the case of the English Second Language learners. This study examined common grammatical writing errors in a corpus of 300 essays written by Namibian Grade 7 learners. The 300 learners’ essay scripts were collected from three different schools in the Walvis Bay circuit, Erongo Region, Namibia. The participants for this study came from a non-English speaking background. The study used a mixed-method approach and a sequential explanatory model. Quantitative data was collected and analysed using The Error Analysis Theory (EA) to identify the common grammatical writing errors that are made by learners in their essay scripts (Corder, 1967). Quantitative findings indicated that Grade 7 learners made numerous grammatical errors in seven different error categories: tenses, articles, prepositions, singular/plurals, subject-verb agreement and word choice. The qualitative sample comprised of five Grade 7 ESL teachers from three targeted schools. The qualitative data was collected through face to face semi-interviews with ESL teachers to explore the teachers’ views on grammar teaching, the causes of errors and ways to minimise the learners’ grammatical writing errors. The possible causes of errors were attributed to first language (mother-tongue) interference, intralingual errors, lack of knowledge about the grammatical rules and overgeneralisation. The ESL teachers used different approaches, namely, inductive, deductive and teaching grammar in context to present grammar instructions. Error correction, corrective feedback and more practice writing on grammar exercises were used to minimise errors and enhance the learners’ writing skills. The study sheds light on how the Namibian learners internalise English grammar rules. Furthermore, the study has theoretical, pedagogical and practical implications for curriculum designers, study material compilers and providers as well as for the teachers of English.
Dissertation (M.Ed. (School of Social Sciences and Language Education))--University of the Free State, 2020, Error analysis, English Second Language, Grammatical errors, Mother-tongue interference, Interlingual errors, Intralingual errors