Error Analysis and Interlanguage
S. Pit Corder 1981
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There have always been two justifications proposed for the study of learners’ errors: the pedagogical justification, namely that a good understanding of the nature of error is necessary before a systematic means of eradicating them could be found, and the theoretical justification, which claims that a study of learners’ errors is part of the systematic study of the learners’ language which is itself necessary to an understanding of the process of second language acquisition. We need to have such a knowledge if we are to make any well-founded proposals for the development and improvement of the materials and techniques of language teaching. These points are made in the first paper in this collection and developed in various ways in later papers. Roughly speaking one could say that the first half of the collection is concerned with the methodological problems of the study of errors and a consideration of the application of error analysis in second language teaching. The second group of papers on interlanguage is more concerned with theoretical problems, particularly those of second language acquisition and the nature of interlanguage, or the second language learner’s language as a type of language and its relation to other language types. Thus the study of interlanguage has a purely theoretical value independent of its ultimate relevance to language teaching. It is part of the study of language or linguistics in its broader sense.