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An Error Analysis of Undergraduate Learners' Sindbi-English Translation.

Byline: Wafa Mansoor Buriro, Ghulam Mi Buriro and Farheen Memon

Abstract

This study aims at finding out Li (Sindhi) interference in the English language use by undergraduate Sindhi students having Sindhi as their mother tongue. The study exploits a modified model of error analysis propounded by Rod Ellis (i994) that contains four stages: identification, description, explanation and evaluation of the errors. For this purpose, a questionnaire was designed, containing ten sentences in Sindhi language which were taken from a Sindhi daily "Sindh Express ". These sentences were about everyday issues like sports, showbiz, politics and social issues. Twenty undergraduate students having Sindhi as their mother tongue were selected through purposive sampling strategy in order to ensure that the students in question had basic proficiency level in English language as the researcher knew them personally. Participants were accessed through email communication and were requested to fill in questionnaires.

Out of the received responses, 25 items were selected having 35 errors. Out of those 35 errors, a few were found repeated several times by different participants. These responses were identified, described, explained and evaluated. It was found that whether they were caused by mother tongue interference or not Errors were divided into three categories: semantic, morphological and syntactic. The results of the study showed that out of 35 errors, 2i were semantic, i2 were morphological and 2 were syntactic in nature. i6 (45%) errors were caused due to interference from the mother tongue. Hence, the study revealed that Li interference is not the only cause of learners' difficulties in learning English language. Learners' assumptions, knowledge of grammar and personal experiences also become responsible for their English language use errors.

Introduction

Second language differs from foreign language in a sense that the former is used in various facets of social, educational, political and administrative life of the users, later, on the other hand, is used only in situations where the communication is needed for international or global purposes (Kachru, 2007). English in Pakistan enjoys the status of second language and fulfills Kachru's definition. But it is not the mother tongue of any ethnic community residing in Pakistan. This case study is based in the context of Sindhi as mother tongue of undergraduate students learning English as a second language. Twenty students were selected for this purpose; all of them had Sindhi as theft mother language. Similar study was carried out by Kafipour and Khojasteh (2011) i.e. "The Study of Morphological, Syntactic, and Semantic Errors Made by Native Speakers of Persian and English Children Learning English"

Lardiere (2009) observes that every language is generally formed of three basic lexical features: phonological, fonnal and semantic, and that languages differ from one another due to these features. Lado (1957 cited in Wong and Dras, 2009) proposes that second language acquisition difficulties occur, hypothetically, due to differences between the old language and the new language being learnt. Contrastive analysis was also taken over by what is called error analysis (Corder, 1967, cited in ibid). This view is also endorsed by Lennon (2008) who asserts that the prior view that difficulties occur in the learning of a new language due to Li interferences but it has been observed lately that students from different Li backgrounds show the same kind of difficulties. This view suggests that errors occur due to some intrinsic sub-system elements rather than interference from the first language.

But here our focus wifi remain on the contrastive analysis of the two languages rather than the error analysis as the research in error analysis does not totally negate the importance of contrastive analysis.

Literature Review

Rustipa (2011) defines contrastive analysis as a 'systematic study of a pair of languages with a view to identifying structural differences and similarities', this field emerged in sixth and seventh decades of twentieth century with a view to ascertain why there were various areas of some second/foreign language that were very difficult to learn and the others that were easy and simple. It was found that differences and similarities in errors could occur due to interferences from the mother tongue of the learners.

Contrastive analysis is a vast field of research due to presence of thousands of languages in the world and more important than that there are frequently interactions between different languages. Second language learning or foreign language learning are not the only areas where contrastive analysis takes place, for example, Sidis~kyte and Tamulaitiene (2013) have studied the methods and common theories applied in translating the subtitles in movies, the translation being done from English into Uthuanian and Russian languages. Using contrastive analysis, they found that most of the times literal translation was performed from English to Lithuanian and Russian languages in movies. Nemeekova (20i i) studied the journalistic styles of Czech and English languages through contrastive analysis.

However, the context of present study is not non-academic. The focus of present study is the second language learning of English and its contrastive analysis to Sindhi language which happens to be the mother tongue of the students under this case study.

Whitman (1970 cited in Yang, 1992) describes the procedure of contrastive analysis in four steps: (1) The first language and the other language to be contrasted with (often a second or a foreign language) are chosen, (2) Some forms are selected for the description in written, (3) Forms are contrasted, and (4) Through them the difficulty is predicted. Yang (1992) further divides Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis in three sub-categories: strong, moderate and weak. Wardhaugh (1970 cited in ibid) strong version considers that first language interferes the learning of second language and that these difficulties can be predicted using systematic procedures of contrastive analysis and that greater the differences between languages, the harder it will be for learners to learn the second language.

In this view, this study fails in the category of strong version of contrastive analysis because it takes into account the written forms of both the languages and then compares them systematically to judge the level of difficulty and the differences.

Noguchi (2014) in her study on the contrastive analysis between Japanese and American English sound systems, using AS general perspective, has given some examples of contrastive analysis. In her examples, she shows that Japanese speakers and English speakers use different articulators to produce vowel sounds. And studying their rhythms, the English teacher might be encouraged to teach Japanese students to have more control over their English pronunciation by training their muscles and organs in a proper way to produce English sounds.

Zawahreh (2013) studied the context translation of Arabic adjectives into English by Jordanian students. The results of the study showed that the translation of the Arabic adjectives into English was often misleading among the students, because they would do it out of context. In order to find the appropriate replacement in English for the Arabic adjectives, students should pay attention to context, parts of speech and collocations.

Acheoah (2013) analyzed the morphology of English and Afenmai (a Nigerian language) and found that processes of prefixing, compounding, derivation of one word-class from another and reduplication were common in those two languages.

Contrastive Analysis in Pakistani Context

There has been significant amount of research on contrastive analysis in Paldstan yet a lot more needs to be done, looking at the number of languages being spoken in Pakistan and other South Asian countries at both places and the number of people trying to learn English as a second language. All these various mother languages and English may interact in different ways and for that, this particular aspect of research needs to be expanded as it would help many learners and practitioners to make the learning process easier through practical implications of the research and preceding theorization in the same.

Akhtar and Rizwan (2015) studied the taxonomy of syntactic-morphological errors in Urdu-English translation in a quantitative way. They found out that there were frequent errors in tenses and plural morphemes. Their study, however, did not take in account the semantic aspect of the contrastive analysis. This study has taken this third aspect as well in order to ascertain closer insights into Li interferences.

Qasim et al. (2015) analyzed the generic features of business correspondence used by native and non-native employees to see the common differences in their written communication. The findings of the study showed that native employees wrote more detailed and clearer drafts than non-native employees. But this study was conducted in corporate sector, it might bear differences with academic settings.

Sarfaraz (2011) analyzed the written English essays of undergraduate students based on error analysis. Her study revealed that there were two types of errors i.e. interlanguage errors and mother tongue interference errors. The results showed that interlanguage errors were higher than those caused by mother tongue interferences.

Research Methodology

- Instrument

In order to analyze the transitional errors between the two languages i.e. English and Sindhi in terms of syntactic, morphological and semantic levels, a questionnaire was designed. The questionnaire (attached in Appendix - I) contained ten sentences from Sindhi language which were taken from a Sindhi daily "Sindh Express" on the issue very common to everyday knowledge of the participants i.e. politics, showbiz and sports.

- Participants

Twenty undergraduate students were selected using purposive sampling. All the participants were enrolled at different universities of Pakistan. Purposive sampling was used to make sure that students had a considerable amount of proficiency over English language as they were researchers' acquaintances. Most of the students were from Institute of English Language and Literature, University of Sindh. So it can be safely said that they had sufficient proficiency in English language. Moreover, as the study was a contrastive one, and one of the languages being Sindhi, all the participants had Sindhi as their mother tongue. Questionnaires were administered using email as the medium.

- Analysis

Rod Effis's (1994) model of error analysis procedure was used to analyze the errors. After the collection of data, the responses were sorted out and categorized. Then the errors were identified. Those errors were then described in the section 'description'. Next, those errors were explained. Finally, the same were evaluated using contrastive analysis approach. This method had also been used by Sarfaraz, 5. (2011) in her research. It was found suitable for this study, hence it was exploited for the same.

Data Analysis

###No.###Error###Error Caused

###Explanation###by Li

###Descnption###Interference

###(Error type)

###1###Traditional programs###Semantic###Culture has been written as traditional. It is###Yes

###common in Sindh for people to

###misinterpret culture with tradition.

###2###Save language###Semantic###Languages are preserved. Save takes the###Yes

###connotation of physical protection.

###3###Eid Celebrations###Semantic###Eid is a happy festival. So, semantically###Yes

###celebrations are attached as a connotation

###of happiness.

###4###afghani###Morphological###There are no capital and small letters in###Yes

###Sindhi, sometimes this results into learners

###forgetting the English grammar rules as an

###effect of their mother tongue.

###5###Old man [laborer] is selling###Semantic###At first there is omission:###No

###toys tofred himself###oldness has been presumed as being poor

###and laborer. Next, addition has been done

###as selling is extended to feeding oneself.

###Student's personal observations are at work

###here.

###6###Before retirement [1] want to###Semantic###In Sindhi sentence, the first person `I' was###Yes

###play a test match in my country.###not present, a player's name was

###preceding. But in English translation, it had

###to be included but due to inference from Li

###student omitted it.

###7###Pakistan white washed the###Semantic###White wash has been used instead of taught###No

###Srilanka###lesson. There was no mentioning of

###Pakistan defeating Sri Lanka by an all over

###series win. Student's personal experience is

###at play here.

###8###Women issues will not be###Semantic###Addition has been made here. Selfies are###No

###solved by capturing seffies###`captured' so student translated the sense.

###9###American forces killed ten###1. Morphological###Error one has already been discussed. Error###1. Yes

###afghani soldiers in a blast in###2. Semantic###two is semantic as it takes the connotation###2. No

###Afghanistan###of bombing and the word has been replaced

###with blast.

###10###An old laborer is selling the###Semantic###Addition has been done here. Toys are###No

###playing toys###always meant for playing.

###11###Flood resulted heavy###1. Semantic###Error one is caused by lack of knowledge###1. No

###destruction in chili-al###2. Morphological###in vocabulary of English. Second error is###2. Yes

###caused by Li inference as already

###mentioned.

###12###Karachi's operation is against###Semantic###Additional infinitive has been used due to###No

###to criminals###student's lack of competence in tenses.

###13###The Stakeholders are looting###1. Semantic###Elected members of government have been###1. No

###Sindh in the name of###2. Morphological###misinterpreted with stakeholders. Error two###2. Yes

###democracy###has already been discussed.

###14###Women problem will###Morphological###Error occurs due to lack of competence in###No

###not be solve by seffie###grammar, specifically in vocabulary and

###tenses.

###15###American army has killed ten###1. Morphological###Error one is caused by spelling mistake the###1. No

###Afghani solders by blast in###2. Semantic###sound / dzf as in `education' has been used###2. No

###Afghanistan###here as a result of assumed uniformity of

###structures and spellings by the student.

###Error two is discussed already.

###16###In order to save language###Syntactic###Word by word translation has been done###Yes

###cultural programs are###here.

###necessary

###17###Rulers are snitchingl looting to###1. Semantic###Snatching takes physical connotation, and###1. No

###Sindh with name of democracy###2. Morphological###the word has been misspelled too. Errors###2. No

###are caused by lack of competence on

###student's part.

###18###Women's problems will not###Morphological###Be resolved is the right form. Error is###No

###resolve through seffie###caused by lack of competence on student's

###part.

###9###In Chitral flood has made###Semantic###`Made' has been used instead of `caused'.###No

###devastation###Error is caused by lack of competence on

###student's part.

###20###In Afghanistan USA###1. Semantic###Student has presumed that there is nothing###1. No

###Army killed 10###2.###as Afghan Army, and there are just###2. Yes

###Taliban by Air attack###Morphological###Taliban there and it has been presumed

###that if anyone is to be bombed by US in

###Afghanistan, it has to be Taliban. Error

###two has already been explained.

###21###Old fanner is selling toys###Semantic###In Sindhi context, laborer and farmer are###Yes

###always confused with each other.

###22###Before retirement [1] wants to###1. Semantic###Error one has already been explained.###1. Yes

###play test match in my country.###2.###Error two occurs due to third person###2. No

###Morphological###singular `s' in present simple tense, it has

###been caused by student's lack of

###competence in tenses.

###23###Crime operations in Karachi###Semantic###Literal translation has been done. Culprits###Yes

###are against defaulters###are named as defaulters.

###24###We need culture programmes###1. Semantic###`We' has been added as the student herself###1. Yes

###for protecting a language###2.###is a Sindhi native. Other errors have been###2. No

###Morphological###explained already. Morphological error is

###caused by student's lack of competence in

###spellings.

###25###The ruler's mentioned###1. Semantic###Literal translation has been done. Sindh###1. Yes

###democracy for plundering to###2. Syntactic###and province words have been misspelled###2. Yes

###sindh provnc###3.###due to modern trend of texting through###3. No

###Morphological###shortened words.

Results

Following are the results of this study:

###Total No. of###Morphological###Semantic###Syntactic###Errors caused

###Errors###Errors###Errors###Errors###by Li Inference

###35###12###21###02###16

Discussion

The results of the study revealed that most of the errors identified were semantic in nature. Whereas, the morphological errors were next in number and syntactic errors were only two in number. As this study aimed at analyzing the errors in the specific context of contrastive analysis between English and Sindhi, hence it was found that only 45% of the mistakes were caused due to interference from the Ll of the participants. It was learnt that the major cause of the target students' errors was not the interference of their Li/mother tongue, rather it was their linguistic incompetence in English. A few other factors like learners' assumptions and poor knowledge in grammar were also found to be responsible for learners' errors in the given context.

It may, however, be noticed that even in the context of semantic errors, majority of errors were not made as a result of interference from the Li rather than they were caused by the personal experiences, observations, assumptions and incompetence of the students. Morphological errors in the case of spellings and capital letters, however, resulted from the Li interference, where absence of capital and small letter system in Li created confusion for students to decide where to use a capital letter and where not. The study results also indicated that learners' mother tongue interference was responsible for all their (100 percent errors) morphological errors as students translated the sentences literally or trying to replicate the syntactic structure of their mother tongue.

Conclusion

The study found that not all the errors were caused by Li interference. There were other reasons related such as assumptions, experiences, learning gaps, also responsible for learners' errors in the given context. This was a very limited study involving small number of students in a specific setting, therefore results cannot be generalizability. If this study is executed on a larger scale, it can be helpful for ELT practitioners and students.

References

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- Akhtar, S. and Rizwan, M. (2015). Taxonomy of syntactic and morphological errors in task-based activity of Urdu-English translation based on error analysis and contrastive analysis. European Academic Research, 2(iO), i3505-13525.

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- Kachru, B (2007). World Englishes and applied linguistics. World Englishes, 9(1), 3-20.

- Kafipour, R. and Khojasteh, L. (2011). The study of morphological, syntactic, and semantic errors made by native speakers of Persian and English children learning English. CS Canada Studies in Literature and language, 3(3), 109-114. DOl: 10.3968/j.sll.1923i563201 i0303.i 130

- Lado, R. (1957). Linguistics across cultures: Applied linguistics for language teachers. Ann Arbor, MI, US: University of Michigan Press.

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- Lennon, P. (2008). Contrastive analysis, error analysis, interlanguage. From S. Gramley and V. Graniley (eds) (2008) Bielefeld Introduction to Applied Linguistics (pp. 51-60). Bielefeld: Aisthesis

- Nemeekova, K. (2011). Contrastive analysis of Czech and English journalistic style (Mastefs diploma thesis). Department of English and American Studies: English Language and Literature, Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University.

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- Qasim, S., Shalcir, A., Hussain, Z. and Arif, Q. (2015). Analysis of generic structure of business letters written by native and non-native employees: A study in ESP context. Journal of Literature, languages and Linguistics, 10, 10-15.

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- Sarfaraz, S. (2011). Error analysis of the written English essays of Pakistani undergraduate students: A case study. Asian Transactions on Basic and Applied Sciences, 1(3), 29-51.

- Sidiskyte, D. and Tamulaitiene, D. (2013). The contrastive analysis of the translation of English film titles into Lithuanian and Russian. Studies about Languages, 22, 7 1-77.

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- Zawahreh, F. A. S. (2013). A linguistic contrastive analysis case study: Out of context translation of Arabic adjectives into English in EFL classroom. International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, 3(2), 427-443.
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Publication:International Journal of Arts and Humanities
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Dec 31, 2015
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