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apotheo
Good Linguist


Joined: 26 Jan 2011
Posts: 33
PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:14 pm
Post subject: Mistakes vs Errors in Learner Language
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How can someone determine the difference between a language learner's errors and the language learner's mistakes?

I'm defining mistakes as the regular misapplication or blunder that all language speakers sometimes make due to stress, or fatigue, etc. The term error I am defining as a mistake that a language learner makes because of insufficient acquisition of the target language.

Everybody makes mistakes, even language learners, so I find it very difficult to tell the difference between regular mistakes and specific errors that could help me determine where a student's language acquisition is at.

Is there any concrete way to tell the difference, or is it more of a thing I have to experience and assess for myself?

Also, is it a good idea to distinguish between mistakes and errors, or is there a better way to think about it?
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lx
Chomsky


Joined: 12 Jul 2009
Posts: 2705
Location: UK
PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 10:10 am
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I think you hit the nail on the head, by repetition.
It shows a true misunderstanding to make the same mistake twice, though it is a bit hazy.

For example, I'm helping a Spanish person with English now where I live, and they're always saying "unique" isntead of "only", so I corrected them and explained the difference. If I asked them now to recite me the rule they will, but it still comes up in speech. They know in their consciousness it's a mistake, but it does come out repeatedly until I glance over and they correct themselves (like they've asked me to do, it's not I'm that intolerant of bad English!).

So in that case, it'd look like an error but in fact it's a mistake. Hmm maybe it's not as easy a distinction as I had first thought.....
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apotheo
Good Linguist


Joined: 26 Jan 2011
Posts: 33
PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 1:05 pm
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Maybe I don't understand. It sounds like your Spanish speaking friend is making an error, instead of a mistake, because of repeated usage of the word "unique."

I like the idea that repeteated "mistakes" could indicate that they are making "errors" instead. Isn't that what your friend is doing?

Do you think they'll ever get over it?
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accentreduction



Joined: 11 Mar 2011
Posts: 5
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:26 pm
Post subject: reply
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yes, I agree.. the best advice is "go&do it". Avoiding is only getting into this problem depeer and depper..
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