Language Errors Produced by Teachers of English: A Study Based on the Teachers Pursuing a Bachelor of Education Degree in Sri Lanka

Anoma Abeywickremasinghe Gunawardana


Errors are a reflection of competence level of language users. Therefore, with the purpose of understanding the competence level of teachers of English, the present study analyzed errors produced by twenty three non-native English speaking teachers pursuing a Bachelor of Education degree in Sri Lanka. Employing qualitative content analysis method, examination answer scripts and written compositions were scrutinized to identify, classify, describe and explain errors. The findings of the study revealed that these participants commit more errors than mistakes reflecting a lower competence in English. They require more improvement in grammar skills than other levels of English. Sub levels of language which need to be improved mainly are articles, prepositions, verbs, punctuation, compounds, lexical verbs and nouns and sequencing of words in sentences. Direct translations, inability to distinguish between formal and informal use of language and use of colloquial features of spoken Sri Lankan English in writing were three main reasons for producing errors and they were observed mainly in errors of articles, prepositions, lexical noun and verb phrases and sequencing of adverbial and prepositional phrases in sentences. However, the overall results of the study indicated that the participants commit errors due to interference from both first language and target language. Evaluation of overall errors produced by the participants showed that they produce more local errors which affect only the grammar of the sentences without affecting the understanding of the utterances produced. These findings mainly imply that these teachers of English still need to improve their knowledge of English and it is also possible that these errors could impact the competence level of their learners when learning the target language.


Academic Writing, Competence, Errors, Mistakes, Non-Native English Speaking Teachers

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