Analysis of Interlanguage in Algerian Brevet Papers in English: A Case Study of Learners in Tizi-Ouzou
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This research is meant as a step in trying to understand how Algerian EFL learners construct interlanguage, which can be defined as a linguistic bridge between the learners’ first language and the language they are learning. It aims at determining the types of errors that are most recurrent, and their origins. Moreover, the purpose of the study is to classify and then analyse the types of writing errors that Algerian middle school pupils still make after the implementation of the third school reform undertaken in 2003. This work strives to contribute to understanding the sources of errors that are involved in the mental processes of EFL learners with Kabyle or Arabic L1s. 200 middle school pupils have participated in this study. After four years of English learning in the middle school, their level is supposed to be pre-intermediate. To conduct our research, we have sought our data from interviews written by Algerian middle school pupils during the first Brevet Exam held in 2007. The 655 total errors analysed in this study are divided into two main categories: interlingual errors and intralingual errors. Interlingual errors include spelling, auxiliaries, articles, pronouns, lexical and semantic errors, prepositions, and adjectives. Intralingual errors include wrong verb form, nouns, state verb concord, and subject-verb agreement. It is assumed that the causes of these errors are the result of the following: Interference from Kabyle or Arabic, interference from French, overgeneralisation, simplification, wrong hypothesis making, pupils’ inadequate knowledge regarding certain structures, the complexity of the English language, insufficient practice of grammatical rules, and the overwhelming pressure of the exam. The findings of this study indicate that first language interference still plays an important role in the learning process, since a major proportion of the errors are due to mother tongue interference. Furthermore, it reveals that the most important errors still made are those related to spelling, use of different auxiliaries and modal verbs, and wrong verb form. Suggestions are provided as to how to eliminate these errors in the second chapter.