Verb Selectional Restriction English Language Essay

This paper tends to hold a reappraisal of constructs and theories refering mistake analysis and nowadayss types of mistakes. It focuses on mistake analysis and surveies syntactic mistakes through subcategorization frame in Persian EFL scholars in simple and intermediate degrees. The purpose of this survey is to happen out whether deficiency of L2 subcategorizational information will do mistakes production of L2 and if increasing proficiency degree eliminates the mistakes. Findingss of this survey confirmed that deficiency of L2 subcategorizational information is a major cause of syntactic mistakes which are extremely affected by proficiency degree.


One of the joys of EFL instructors is to see their pupils produce unflawed English. Unfortunately it is inevitable to avoid mistakes of different types. Acquaintance with the types of mistakes pupils really make is a valuable usher for finding the sequence and accent of direction in the EFL schoolroom. In recent old ages the credence of this impression has led to a great trade of empirical research on grownup foreign linguistic communication mistakes ( Burt, 1975 ) .

Mistake analysis was conceptualized and applied based on the behaviourist theory of linguistic communication larning which implied that mistakes were marks that a linguistic communication scholar had merely non larn the regulations of the mark linguistic communication efficaciously ( Brown, as cited in Khodabandeh, 2007 ) . In the early 1950 ‘s, the impression of linguistic communication as a system, and more significantly, the impression of 2nd linguistic communication acquisition as the meeting of two linguistic communication systems gained more credence and linguists began to see mistakes as grounds of linguistic communication transportation, or what referred to as intersystemic intervention. With this conceptualisation, mistakes were regarded as the manifestation of uneffective linguistic communication acquisition and were focused upon by linguists and instructors intent on their riddance ( Khodabandeh, 2007 ) .

It was n’t until the late 1960 ‘s that research workers like Slamecka and Ceraso ( 1960 ) used grounds gained through mistake analysis to discredit the being of negative transportation as the dominant factor in geting a 2nd linguistic communication, since many mistakes could non be attributed to intersystemic intervention. What they and other research workers were showing was that scholars did n’t merely memorise mark linguistic communication regulations and utilize them to organize their ain vocalizations: they were building their ain regulations based on the input they had received. Hence, there was a metempsychosis of mistake analysis and a motion from an uniform universe to a universe organized by head, from a universe of cases to a universe related by generalizations and abstractions necessitating the whole construct to be redefined and approached from a more cognitive or mentalist position ( Khodabandeh, 2007 ) .

Psychology became a much more influential field for linguists interested in utilizing mistake analysis as a diagnostic tool, to assist place the causes of mistakes. The term error itself was redefined in acknowledgment that many errors in self-generated speech production or authorship could be attributed to a simple intermission, metanalysis, or a “ faux pas of the encephalon. ” ( Crystal, as cited in Khodabandeh, 2007 ) . Mistakes began to assist depict and explicate the manner in which scholars learned a linguistic communication instead than their advancement towards conforming to a set of existent or imagined criterions of look and therefore, had a more positive function.

Today, mistake analysis is used with a assortment of techniques for identifying, sorting and consistently construing the errors made by linguistic communication scholars and has helped back up hypotheses such as the natural path of development, every bit good as place the failings and/or disprove theories of linguistic communication larning like incompatible analysis, throughout the last few decennaries ( Khodabandeh, 2007 ) . “ The failings of incompatible analysis are that it overemphasized the intervention of the outer environment of linguistic communication survey, but the linguistic communication learners themselves are wholly neglected. While lingua franca intended to research larning schemes based on the scholars ‘ mistakes, and it has ecome the footing of mistake analysis ” ( Fang & A ; Xue-mei, 2007, p. 11 ) .

Mistake analysis emphasizes “ the significance of mistakes in scholars ‘ lingua franca system ” ( Brown, as cited in Khodabandeh, 2007 ) . The term lingua franca, introduced by Selinker ( 1972 ) , refers to the systematic cognition of an L2 which is independent of both the scholar ‘s L1 and the mark linguistic communication. Nemser ( 1971 ) referred to it as the Approximate System, and Corder ( 1967 ) as the Idiosyncratic Dialect or Transitional Competence ( as cited in Khodabandeh, 2007 ) . “ Error analysis is a type of lingual analysis that focuses on the mistakes scholars make. It consists of a comparing between the mistakes made in the Target Language ( TL ) and that TL itself ” ( Khodabandeh, 2007, p. 8 ) . Burt, ( 1975 ) stated that “ this ‘error analysis attack ‘ differs from that of ‘contrastive analysis ‘ in that mistake analysis does non presume that first linguistic communication intervention is the major forecaster of big mistakes. Rather, no premises are made about the causes of mistake types ” ( Burt, 1975, p. 54 ) . Mistakes in the existent address of foreign linguistic communication scholars were merely collected, so classified into classs. The consequences of probes indicate that although intervention from a pupils ‘ first linguistic communication is the major forecaster of phonological mistakes ( as most experient EFL instructors already know ) , interference mistakes are merely one of the types of mistakes found in the sentence structure, morphology and vocabulary of pupil address and authorship in the mark linguistic communication ( Richards 1971, Politzer 1974, Ervin-Tripp 1970, George 1972, and Grauberg 1971, as cited in Burt, 1975 ) . For illustration, Grauberg ( 1971 ) , found that “ mother lingua intervention could account for merely 25 % of the lexical mistakes, 10 % of the syntactic mistakes, and none of the morphological mistakes in his pupils ‘ essays ” ( Burt, 1975, p. 54 ) .

Most of the current work in mistake analysis focuses on either the lingual categorization of mistakes or on the causes of mistakes made by grownups larning English and other foreign linguistic communications. The primary causes of mistakes reviewed by Khodabandeh, ( 2007, p.8 ) are:

Interlingual/Transfer mistakes: those attributed to the native linguistic communication ( NL ) . There are interlingual mistakes when the scholar ‘s L1 wonts ( forms, systems or regulations ) interfere or prevent him/her, to some extent, from geting the forms and regulations of the 2nd linguistic communication ( Corder, 1971 ) . Interference ( negative transportation ) is the negative influence of the female parent linguistic communication ( L1 ) on the public presentation of the mark linguistic communication scholar ( L2 ) ( Lado, 1964 ) .

Intralingual/Developmental mistakes: those due to the linguistic communication being learned ( TL ) , independent of the native linguistic communication. Harmonizing to Richards ( 1970 ) they are points produced by the scholar which reflect non the construction of the female parent lingua, but generalisations based on partial exposure to the mark linguistic communication. The scholar, in this instance, attempts to “ deduce the regulations behind the informations to which he/she has been exposed, and may develop hypotheses that correspond neither to the female parent lingua nor to the mark linguistic communication ” ( Richards, 1974, p. 6 ) .

A division of scholars ‘ mistakes harmonizing to whether they appear to arise from an L1 construction or L2-dependent regulation building has formed the pillar of surveies of L2 learner-language for over a decennary. The calculation of the comparative frequences of mistakes ascribed to these classs ( on occasion in relation to differing degrees of proficiency ) has served a assortment of research inquiries and theoretical issues. Possibly the most of import issue was whether or non L2 acquisition draws on those cognitive mechanisms and linguistic communication processing schemes that have been identified for L1 acquisition. The important figure of mark language-specific developmental mistakes found in the L2 address of scholars of different Lls and age groups played a major function in the reemphasis of Contrastive Analysis in L2 research and cleared the manner for a research paradigm which focused on the commonalties at the merchandise and procedure degree ( Zobl, 1980 ) .

Zobl, ( 1980 ) demonstrated that both types of mistakes have their beginnings in the processing of belongingss of L2 input, and that mistakes which seem to demo influence from the L1 presumptively begin as L2-dependent developmental mistakes which are later reinforced by an L1 construction compatible with the developmental mistake. Dulay and Burt ( 1972 ) have demonstrated the traditional differentiation of developmental vs. transportation mistakes in table 1.

There is besides another wildly known division of mistakes, planetary vs. local mistakes. Burt, ( 1975 ) discusses four facets of English grammar that frequently cause planetary mistakes: basic word order, sentence connections, psychological predicate buildings and selectional limitations on certain types of verbs in sentential complements. The two last facets portion an of import feature: they are exclusions to permeant rules of English. In natural conversations, talkers invariably generate new sentences by using the regulations of the linguistic communication they are talking. Thus, even if a pupil has ne’er heard a peculiar sentence, he can bring forth it if he has internalized ( learned ) the relevant grammar. However, in certain cases, English requires its ain basic regulations to be violated, and an unsuspicious pupil of English will use a regulation he has learned and accordingly do an mistake. These sorts of mistakes, which are made by pupils from diverse linguistic communication backgrounds, make it clear that the female parent lingua is non the beginning of these mistakes. Rather, English itself is the ‘culprit ‘ ( Burt, 1975 ) . “ Research has shown that truth of linguistic communication usage may be significantly improved with the command of the right use of the vocabulary point. It is in this sense that Gairns [ and ] Redman ( 1986 ) speak of the ‘grammar of

vocabulary ‘ ( Li & A ; Chan, 1999, p. 85 ) ” . Examples of this include abuse of verb

Table 1Distinguishing Features of Developmental and Transfer ErrorsProduct Level Developmental Transfer Mistakes are indistinguishable to those made by native scholars ( Mougeon and Hebrard 1975 ) Intervention outputs different types of mistakes than those that are de-velopmental ( Dulay and Burt 1974a ) Mistakes result from the creative activity of regulations similar to those of native scholars ( Dulay and Burt 1974a ) Mistakes reflect scholar ‘s usage of L1 as a crutch at low degree of L2 proficiency ( Taylor 1974 ) Mistakes reflect scholar ‘s competency at a peculiar developmental phase ( Richards 1971a ) Mistakes reflect usage of L1 as a beginning of hypotheses about L2 ( e.g. , Cancino, Rosansky and Schumann 1975 ) Mistakes illustrate scholar ‘s effort to construct up hypotheses about the L2 ( Richards 1971a ) Process Level Origins of mistakes are within the L2 ( Richards 1971a ) Mistakes reflect inability to divide the two linguistic communications ( Richards 1971a ) Mistakes reflect general characteris-tics of regulation acquisition and linguistic communication acquisition ( Richards 1971a ) Mistakes result from L1 wonts ( out-dated Contrastive Analysis posi-tion ) Main schemes are simplification, generalisation and decrease of grammatical redundancy ( Dulay and Burt 1972 ) Errors represent an interlingual generalisation ( TayIor 1974 )

Adapted from Zobl, ( 1980 ) , p.724

transitivity ( *to discuss about something ) , confusion between a noun and verb ( *to emphasise on something ) , preposition ( *to walk under the Sun ) , and so forth.

This grammar of vocabulary is what we are look intoing in this paper. In the present survey we focus on verb selectional limitation within subcategorization frame. The undermentioned inquiries will be answered:

Do subcategorizational differences between Persian and English lead to inaccuracy in production of English as L2?

In instance they lead mistakes, do they alter to rectify signifier as the proficiency degree additions?



A group of 70 scholars, 40 of whom analyzing in simple degree and 30 in intermediate degree, participated in this survey. They were selected from different linguistic communication institutes in Mashhad in order to take any likely consequence of acquaintance with a specific verb usage due to direction of a specific class book. They were given a list of 20 verbs, normally used mistakenly by Iranian L1 scholars of English, and were asked to utilize each of them in a sentence. In few instances interlingual rendition of some verbs were given when participants seem non to cognize it.


The verbs selected for the survey were based on intimations in Common Mistakes in English and besides based on instructors ‘ experience about verbs EFL scholars frequently make errors about. These verbs were listed alphabetically on a piece of paper with a space in forepart of them for pupils to compose their sentences. The sample paper is available in appendix1.

Procedure and Analysis

Pieces of paper were distributed by the research worker. Learners were given 20 proceedingss to compose sentences. The same list of verbs was distributed among intermediate scholars to happen out if the same sort of mistakes in scholars in higher degree of proficiency. The major class of mistakes in this survey is syntactic 1. In order for pupils to bring forth the constructions which would pin down the desirable subcategorization, some other words were accompanied some of the verbs which the particular choice could be avoided otherwise. Sentences incorporating mistakes of subcategorization were selected and other sorts of mistakes every bit good as right sentences were ignored. For illustration in the sentence *We should obey from instructor. merely incorrect use of preposition in considered as mistake for the survey and disregard of article for instructor was ignored.


Mistakes were shown within subcategorization frame and the right selectional limitation of each verb was contrasted with the incorrect 1s as shown in table 2:


Learner ‘s behaviour described supra seems to be the norm for many scholars. A believable account for this phenomenon is that scholars already have sophisticated syntactic models built up for most of the words they encounter in the mark linguistic communication. This syntactic information consequences either from hypothesis they have made through the initial phases of L2 acquisition or transportation of L1, when they find similarities between the two linguistic communications. However, when this comparing happens, it is frequently the instance that native linguistic communication syntactic frames are dragged along, which creates a job of inappropriate native like sentence structure and mistakes in L2. This is an country where 2nd linguistic communication acquisition is evidently different from first ; with first linguistic communication acquisition, there are no viing subcategorization frames and rather perchance there is a thrust to make original frames. With 2nd linguistic communications, nevertheless, scholars must get new subcategorization frames and the end so is to do them cognizant of differences between first and 2nd linguistic communication syntactic frames redefinition and an extension of the syntactic sphere in which subcategorization demands can be fulfilled.

A expression at types of mistakes shows that some occurred as a consequence of L1 intervention while some are due to uncomplete instruction/mastery of L2. Besides, most scholars reframe the syntactic construction and get down utilizing the right signifier as the proficiency degree additions. However, the proportion of this alteration is non the same. Although the structural mechanisms in the generation of both developmental and transfer mistakes appear to be the same, grounds exists proposing that the effects of both error types on subsequent acquisition may be different ; that is, reconstituting of the regulation on which the mistake is based may be more hard when the developmental mistake is reinforced by a ( near- ) congruent L1 construction ( Zobl, 1980 ) . This is in line with what “ Mougeon and Hebrard point out that, when plotted on a graph over clip, transportation mistakes, unlike developmental mistakes, expose a much more gradual Cline of riddance from scholar address ” ( as cited in Zobl, 1980, p.477 ) .

EFL instructors will, hence, be wise to pay calculated attending to the expressed instruction of such erroneous footings and to supplying sufficient pattern chances both inside and outside the schoolroom.