Common errors in written English essays of form one Chinese students

A case study

Saadiyah Darus, Khor Hei Ching

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Chinese students from vernacular schools in Malaysia need to master three languages, which are English, Malay, and Chinese. Since English is the second language (L2) that they learn, it causes problems for them in learning the four skills in English including writing. This study aims to investigate the most common errors in essays written in English by 70 Form One Chinese students in a selected public school in Perak. For all of these students, Chinese is their first language (L1). Using an error classification scheme and Markin 3.1 software, 70 essays were analyzed and categorized into 18 types of errors. The results of the analysis show that four most common errors were mechanics, tenses, preposition, and subject-verb agreement. In composing these essays, the students were very much influenced by their L1. Intra lingual transfer of Malay and developmental errors were also observed in their writing. This study suggests that teachers need to emphasize on how certain concepts are handled in English, Malay and Chinese. It is also important to make the students aware of the differences in the structure of English, Malay and their L1. Certain rules in Chinese and Malay that do not work when they write in English need to be highlighted. Students need to understand the differences of these languages and make use of the unique features to produce good and acceptable sentences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-253
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Sciences
Volume10
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009

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Keywords

  • English essays
  • ESL learners
  • Grammatical errors
  • Vernacular school

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

Cite this

Common errors in written English essays of form one Chinese students : A case study. / Darus, Saadiyah; Ching, Khor Hei.

In: European Journal of Social Sciences, Vol. 10, No. 2, 10.2009, p. 242-253.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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