An Analytical Study of Patterns of Spelling Errors of Freshmen Ethiopian Students at Aau Main Campus

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Addis Ababa University


The main objective of this study is to examine some of the causes and occurrences of the spelling errors of the freshmen Ethiopian students and thereby accounffor these errors. According to Error Analysis (EA) theories and interlanguage (IL) studies, the learners' errors are developmental and systematic by nature. The systematicity in the error data indicates a more or less natural progression (development) in the learners' acquisition of English language showing adherence to "learner-generated' or 'builtin' syllabus" (see Cord8r 1981) i.e. the stages of development in learning English. To verify the claims of EA and IL studies with rega~ to the occurrences of the learners' spelling, a total of 140 freshmen Ethiorian students with differing mother-tongue (MT) and backgrounds were given two tests i,e, dictation and composition writing. The same composition tests were also given to 24 multilingual group of children at the English Community School (ECS). The spelling errors obtainerl from each test written by the Ethiopian group were superficially classified into categories induced by the error types, These errors were then further classified into the clearest error patterns that emerged and were given psycholinguistic explanations. !! - - ii - These patterns were cross-checked with the nature of the spelling errors obtained from the ECS group of children. Moreover, spelling error patterns ~f the Ethiopian group were compared to the sta~es in the developmental spelling errors of the native (English) children thAt Marr,o Wood has 8sta~lished. The result of this study, therefore, revealed that the spelling errors of the freshmen Ethiopian students could be accounted for by three factors namely: (a) those errors directly related to LI interference upon TL (English) (b) those errors of intralingual confusions (c) those errors caused by LI interference but also reinforced by intralin~ual confusion. Moreover. the soellins errors of the freshmen group matched si~nificantly, with the phonetic and transitional stages of developmental spellin~ errors established by Wood. The majority of the error patterns were also found out to be similar to the nature of the ECS group of children. In addition. it was found that stud3nts are likely to make less spelling errors in composition than in dictation writin~ tests when the error percentages are computed a~ainst words correctly spelt in these tssts.



Spelling Errors of Fresmen Ethiopian Students