A descriptive analysis of l1 interference lexical and Grammatical errors in ESL written discourse: an investigation Based on some Zambian grade 12 learners’ narrative English compositions

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Sinkala, Lazarus Fred
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University of Zambia
This study examined first language interference lexical and grammatical errors in English as a Second Language (ESL) written discourse with particular focus on some Zambian Grade Twelve learners’ written narrative English pieces of composition. The aim of the study was to provide a description of some of the specific instances of first language interference lexical and grammatical errors in narrative pieces of composition produced by Grade Twelve pupils. The study sought to: identify lexical and grammatical errors committed by Grade Twelve pupils in narrative pieces of composition; classify the identified errors into specific types; relate the identified errors to specific first language aspects; establish and explain how the identified errors hamper discourse coherence. The study was guided by two approaches: Contrastive Analysis (CA) and Error Analysis (EA). CA was used to identify similarities and differences between respective Zambian language (L1) and English (L2) while EA was used to explain the errors. Data were collected through analysis of the scripts produced by Grade Twelve learners under national examinations conditions. Data were analysed by sorting out specific local language interference errors which were then categorized according to type: lexical (word selection and word formation) and Grammatical (wrong verbal tenses, incorrect verbal forms, and syntax problems). Follow up interviews with 15 examiners were conducted to deepen understanding and interpretation of the results. The research employed the interview guide to verify the status of the identified lexical and grammatical errors. The data revealed the existence of various categories of local language interference errors at both lexical and grammatical levels thereby confirming the theoretical framework that learners of L2 tend to transfer the meaning and structures from their mother tongue to the target language. The implication of these findings is that the occurrence of L1 interference errors is widespread, thereby contributing to poor scores in the English Language examination by the learners. The study recommends that schools should undertake remedial teaching focusing on local language interference errors in order to enhance discourse coherence in the pieces of composition written by senior secondary school pupils. KEY WORDS: First language (L1), Mother Tongue, Contrastive Analysis (CA), Error Analysis (EA), English as a Second Language (ESL), Lexical and Grammatical
Lexical and grammatical -- Zambia , Constructive analysis -- Zambia ,