Theories Of Error Correction In Second Language Acquisition

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4.2 A historical perspective on errors and error correction.

4.2.1 Error correction in Second Language Acquisition (SLA).
Theories of Second Language Acquisition (SLA) refer to linguistic theories and views on how people acquire a second language. Acquisition refers to the natural and subconscious process in which an individual constructs the system of a language. Errors have always been present in the acquisition of the system of a language; during the last decades there have been three major theoretical perspectives behind first and second language acquisition namely behaviourist, innatist and interactionist, which have attempted to explain how the subconscious process takes place in the area of language learning. This part of this research
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Chomsky stressed the active contribution of the child to language acquisition and minimized the role of imitation and reinforcement as some linguists claimed that “children can create and understand new sentences that they have never learnt before (Ellis, 1985). This implied a creativity which children had internalized following an underlying system of rules (Usò and Martínez-Flor 2006:6). Chomsky believed that children are predisposed with a Language Acquisition Device that enables them to form rules. Chomsky’s generativist ideas gave rise to the innatist approach to language learning which was ‘derived from the fundamental assertion that language acquisition is innately determined, that we are born with a built-in device of some kind that predisposes us to language acquisition’ (Brown 2007:19), a LAD which later on developed on a set of innate universal rules common to all languages known as Universal grammar. According to his view of language acquisition, the child builds up the knowledge of the language by means of hypothesis testing (Ellis, 1985). This view of first language acquisition was later on applied to second language acquisition. Errors under the innatist view were considered to be the result of the learner thinking through the process of rule formation. It is believed that errors made by learners such as “Two foots” appeared as a result of an attempt to infer the rules of formation of plurals, where the rule is that the plural is formed by adding –s. Studies also found that there was a consistent order of acquisition in a number of grammatical morphemes” (Usò and Martínez-Flor 2006:6) Following this new assumption, perception on errors changed drastically from being considered an impediment for
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