Error Correction in Native-Nonnative Conversation

Chenoweth, N. Ann
Day, Richard R.
Chun, Ann E.
Luppescu, Stuart
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The purpose of this paper is to report the results of an investigation into how native speakers (NSs) of English in social settings correct the errors committed by their friends who are nonnative speakers (NNSs) of English. While there are a number of studies which describe error correction in the second/foreign language classroom (e.g., Allwright 1975; Fanselow 1977; Holley and King 1971), little is known about what NSs do when their NNS friends commit errors. Gaskill (1980) studied sample conversations of one NNS with several NSs. He concluded that when, and if, NS correction occurs, it is usually modulated in form to show NS uncertainty. However, as Cathcart and Olsen (1976) noted, personalities involved in the interaction affect the amount and type of correction supplied. Since Gaskill had only one NNS as his source of data, his results may not be representative. The NSs in our data used two strategies tocorrect NNS errors: on-record corrections off-record corrections. After describing the subjects and the methods used in collecting the data, we discuss in detail these two strategies. We also present, by way of contrast, several noncorrective discourse strategies which NSs used in order to clear up conversational difficulties. A model of error correction is proposed, which shows that most NS error corrections were given at transition points and not as interruptions. The paper concludes with implications of the results for the classroom and with suggestions for future research.
english native speaker, non native english speaker, correction of errors, social setting
17 pages
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University of Hawai'i Working Papers in English as a Second Language 1(2)
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