Language is a means of communication. By using a language people can communicate with each other. Using a language is not as simply as we thought because there is a set of rules that must be followed, which is called Grammar. Actually grammar is used to mean the structure of a language. It is an essential part of the use of language process, both in spoken and written language. Based on Digital Library of PETRA University, the grammar of a language is a description of the ways in which the language uses patterns of structure to convey the meaning. It would be impossible to learn language effectively without knowing the grammar, because grammar helps learners to identify grammatical forms, which serve to enhance and sharpen the expression of meaning.
Having a good grammar system of a language, learners will be helpful in delivering their ideas, messages and feelings either to the listeners or readers. Language without grammar would be disorganized and causes some communicative problems, like grammatical errors in writing. Hence, learners need to know the grammatical system of language they can communicate with others in order to transfer the message properly.
In order to use a language well, learners should learn the rules of a language or to know how they work. They cannot avoid errors because errors mostly occur in learning process. It happens because they use different forms to deliver their ideas, fellings or messages so they need considerable amount of time to be able to master the target language well. Besides, by making errors, learners will build their new knowledge to use the target language as Littlewood stated that making errors during studying the second language can be considered as a means of building learners’ abilities because they can learn something from making errors (Littlewood, 1992)
According to Robert and Freida in Yulianti’s thesis (1972: 154), learning English is not easy, the language learners may have difficulties. The difficulties that are encountered by every student will vary according to his / her native language. Because of these, there will be errors that can be found in their learning.
These errors will influence their communication. Therefore, it is important to analyze the errors because by learning the errors there are many advantages such as (a) a device which the learner uses in order to learn ( Selinker in Soesanti’s thesis, 1992 : 150 ), (b) to fully grasp and understand the nature of errors, and (c) instead of just being able to recognize errors, the learners are now able to explain the rules and correct the errors ( Mei Lin Ho, 2003 : 1).
The errors usually occur in the productive skills, speaking and writing, but to analyze the errors in productive skills in short time is not easy. It takes much time, money, and requires a high ability of an analyst. Therefore, the writer decided to analyze only the grammatical errors in students’ writing.
The writer chooses the students of Writing IV class as the subject of the research because they are expected to make writings which are correct in grammar, so it is important to know whether the students make grammatical errors or not and what kind of grammatical errors that students make. The writer hopes the result of the research will be useful; not only for the students of Writing IV class, but also for the lectures.
The grammatical error that will be analyze are subject and verb; verb agreement, tense, and form; pronoun agreement, and reference.
1.2 Research Problem
The central problem of this research is: “What grammatical errors are made by the students taking Writing IV class at the English Department Academic Year 2009 / 2010?”
1.3 Objective Of The Study
Based on the problem above, this research intends to find out the grammatical errors which are made by students of Writing IV class at the English Department in their writing of argumentative essay academic year test 2009 / 2010.
1.4 Significances Of The Study
This research has significances as follows:
1. To help teachers of the English Department, by giving them an important contribution in the English teaching process which is part of grammar they should pay attention to.
2. To help students, by giving valuable input about errors they encounter and how to overcome them.
3. It hopes that this thesis will help other researchers to do the some related researches in deeper, further and better techniques.
The scope of this study is the grammatical errors made by students taking Writing IV class at the English department in their three assignments of argumentative essay Academic Year 2009 / 2010.
The errors which the researcher will analyze are only the errors which include in the following three categories of problem areas. Those are:
1. Subject and verb
e.g. There is some glasses on the table
2. Verb agreement, tense, and form
e.g. I will coming soon.
3. Pronoun, agreement, and reference
e.g. Julie likes the flower. He will buy it.
1.6 Definitions of Key Term
• Error is a part of conversation or a composition that deviates from some selected norm of mature language performance.
• Error analysis is identifying, clasifying errors of a foreign language and giving solution.
• Grammatical errors are errors which happen in writing
• Students of English Department Academic year 2007 regular A are the students who were registered in 2007 in English Department and particularly taking the course of Writing IV in their fifth semester.
• English Department is one of the departments in the Faculty of Teachers Training and Education of the Lambung Mangkurat University, Banjarmasin which is located on Jl. H. Hasan Bashri Kayu Tangi Banjarmasin.
REVIEW OF LTERATURE
2.1 The Nature of writing
2.1.1 Definition of writing
According to Cohen and Riel in Yulianti’s thesis (1989), writing as a communicative act, a way of sharing observations, information, thought, or ideas with others. Meanwhile, Bryne in Yulianti’s thesis (1979) defined writing is transforming our thoughts into language. In other words, writing is transforming our thoughts into language. In other words, writing can be defined as a way of communication by transforming observations, information, thought, or ideas into language, so it can be shared with others. Also, Bryne (1979) added that it is neither easy nor spontaneous; it requires conscious mental effort. Writing is not only just transforming our thought or idea in written form but also it relays to the process of monitoring any single words or features that we have written and the process of rereading and revising our writing.
Voss and Keene (1992:2-3) write why we should bother with writing and purposes for writing as follows:
1. writng is a way of thinking and learning. Writing gives unique opportunities of explore ideas and enquire information. By writing, we come to know subjects well and make them our own.
2. Writing is a way of discovering. The act of writing allows us to make unexpected connections among ideas and language
3. Writing create reading. Writing create permanent, visible record of our ideas for others to read and ponder. Writing is powerfull means of communication for reading information and shapes human thought.
4. Writing ability is needed by educated people. Our skill writing is often considered to reflect our level of education.
Purpose for writing:
- To express yourself
- To provide information for your reader
- To persuade your reader
- To create a literary work
In Wikipedia’s website, it is stated that according to William Caslon, writing may refer to two activities:
1. The inscribing of characters on a medium, with the intention of forming words and other constructs that represent language or record information.
2. The creation of material to be conveyed trough written language (there are some expectation; for example, the use of a type writer to recard language is generally called typing, rather than writing).
Therefore, there are some writing components that should be considered by a writer before he begins to write because without considering the components we will not produce a good writing.
According to Raimes (1983), there are eight writing components that should be considered by a writer in order to produce good writing. The components are ;
1. Grammar : rules of verbs, agreement, pronouns.
2. Mechanics : handwriting, spelling, punctuation.
3. Organization : paragraphs, topics, and supports,
cohesion and unity.
4. word choice : vocabulary and idiom.
5. Purpose : reason for writing.
6. Audience : reader(s).
7. The writer’s purposes : getting ideas, getting started, writing
8. Content : relevance, clarity, originality, logic.
In order to get good result of writing, the writer should consider them in writing a paragraph or an essay.
Definition of a Paragraph and an Essay
A paragraph is a basic unit of organization in writing in which a group of related sentences develops one main idea. It can consist of one sentence or as long as ten sentences. However the number of sentences is unimportant but it should be long enough to develop the main idea clearly (Oshima and Ann Houge. 1999:16). A paragraph consists of several related sentences that develop one unit of content. A paragraph may stand alone as a brief work, but usually it functions as a part of a longer piece of writing (Dornan and Dawe. 1987:244).
A paragraph consists of one topic sentence and some support sentences. Some paragraph can create an essay, because an essay consists of some general statement and a thesis statement. Also, there is a concluding paragraph which concludes the main points in the body of the essay.
An essay is a piece of writing several paragraphs. It consists more than main idea, so it needs more than one paragraph to cover the ideas (Oshima and Houge. 1999:100)
In this research, the writer will analyze essays writing of students for their three writing assignments in argumentative essay academic year 2009 / 2010. They are required to write argumentative essays with the topics that have been prepared by the lectures. They developed the topics become essays writing.
2.2 The Nature of Error
2.2.1 Definition of Error
An error is different from mistake, so we have to be careful to differentiate. According to Yulianti (2007: 9):
- A mistake is a performance error, which is either a random guess or a ‘slip’, i.e. a failure to utilize a known system correctly.
- An error is a noticeable deviation from the adult grammar of a native speaker, reflecting the inter language competence of the learner.
She also clearly differentiated a mistake from an error. She stated:
- A mistake is a slip that a learner can self-correct.
- An error is what a learner can not self-correct.
From those definitions above, the writer concludes that a mistake is just a slip that the learner forgets the right form. While, an error is a deviation which is made by the learner because he does not know the rule and he /she will make it repetitively.
The Sources of Error Occurrence
The sources of error occurrence according to Ancker (2000: 1):
(1) Interference from the native language
The learner may assume that the target language and his native language are similar. Then, he will over generalize the rules of his native language and the target language.
(2) An incomplete knowledge of the target language
Because of the incomplete knowledge, the learner may make guesses. When he has something that he doesn’t know, he may guess what it should be there. Lengo (1995:1) added that foreign language learners commit errors largely because of the paucity of their knowledge of the target language whereas deviant forms produced by native speakers are dismissed as slips of the tongue or slips of the pen.
(3) The complexity of the target language
Certain aspects in English are difficult for some learners, it may be caused the rules of their native language are quite different from English and even more complex than their native language.
2.2.3 The Benefits of Analyzing Errors
Errors are normal and unavoidable during the learning process as Richard (1974: 95) mentioned that no one could learn without making errors. Meanwhile, Lengo (2003: 1) mentioned that errors are believed to be an indicator of the learners’ stages in their target language development. So, it is important to analyze the errors because there are many benefits in analyzing the errors, such as:
(1) a device which the learner uses in order to learn ( Selinker in Soesanti’s thesis, 1992: 150 )
(2) to fully grasp and understand the nature of the errors made, and
(3) instead of just being able to explain the rules and correct the errors ( Mei Lin Ho, 2003 : 1 ).
Grammar can be defined as a set of shared assumptions about how language works (Yulianti 2007:11). The assessment whether the learners have mastered some grammatical points should not be based on their ability to state the rules of grammar, but on their ability to use the grammatical points to share their ideas, emotions, feelings, or observations with other people. Especially in the context of the teaching English in Indonesia, the teaching of grammar should be integrated in the development of the four language skills.
Knowing about how grammar works is to understand more about how grammar is used and misused (Yulianti.2007:12). It means that there is a possibility of error occurrence in students learning. In this research, the term of error in grammar will be called a grammatical error. The writer has chosen only three catagories or problem areas in grammatical errors, they are:
1. Subject and verb
In a sentence, there are at least one subject and one verb. The subject may be a noun, a pronoun, and the predicate may be a verb or to be.
Some types of errors that might appear in this category are:
a. Subject missing
e.g., From the text above, can be concluded that book is important.
It should be: from the text above, it can conclude that book is important
b. Simple predicate missing be
e.g., Water very important for human being.
It should be: Water is very important for human being.
c. Wrong simple predicate missing be
e.g., There are student in the library.
It should be: There is student in the library.
d. Superfluous be
e.g. John and Taylor are do their homework.
It should be: John and Taylor do their homework.
2. Verb agreement, tense, and form.
Every sentence has at least one verb. It indicates number of the subject, the tense, etc wherever it stands in a sentence.
a. Misinformation of passive form
e.g., Andi was borrow it two days ago.
It shoul be: Andi was borrowed it two days ago
b. Passive order, but active form
e.g., The wedding will held tomorrow.
It should be: the wedding will be hold tomorrow
c. Active order, but passive form
e.g., The police is caught by the thief.
It should be: the police caught the thief
d. Misinformation of the next verbal word
e.g., We will coming soon
it should be: we will come soon.
e. The verb comes after the subject
e.g., Jane look at herself in a mirror.
It should be : jane looks at herself in a mirror
f. A form of have/ has
e.g., She have a book.
It should be: she has a book
g. A form of do / does
e.g., Andi do not know the rules
it should be: andi doesn’t know the rules.
3. Pronoun form, agreement, reference
Pronoun is a word that used to replace noun in a sentence or a paragraph. So, there is no repetition for the noun that may bore the audience, that is, the reader or the listener.
The example of the error that might appear in this area is:
e.g., He borrows the books. It will be returned soon.
It should be: he borrows teh books. They will be returned
METHODOLOGY OF RESEARCH
3.1 The Research Method
This research uses a descriptive method to describe the grammatical errors in students’ writing for the final test made by the students taking Writing IV class at English Department academic year 2009 / 2010.
3.2 The Research Variable
The variable of this research is the grammatical errors which occur in the students’ writing for assignments of argumentative essay.
3.3 Data Sources
The population of this research is the students of Regular A who take Writing IV class at English Department academic year 2009 / 2010. The total numbers of the student are about 30 students.
According to Suharsimi Arikunto (2002:1200), untuk sekedar ancer-ancer maka apabila subjeknya kurang dari 100, maka lebih baik dianbil semua. Therefore, from the 30 students of writing IV class, the writer takes the entire student as samples.
3.4 Technique of Data Collection
The data which is used in this research is from the students’ writings of all English Department students taking Writing IV class for three assignments of argumentative essay academic year 2009 / 2010. In order to collect the data, the writer asks the lecturers of Writing IV class for their permission. Then, the writer borrows them to make the copies.
3.5 Technique of Data Analysis
The technique which is used in analyzing the data is qualitative. The data will be classified into three categories of problem areas: subject and verb; verb agreement, tense, and form; pronoun form, agreement, and reference. In which the first category is divided into four types of errors: surrogate subject missing; simple predicate missing; wrong simple predicate missing; superfluous. The second is divided into fives types of errors: misinformation of passive form; passive order but active form, active order but passive form; misinformation of verb after modal; the verb comes after the subject; a from of have / has; a form of do / does. And the third is only one type of errors: wrong pronouns.
3.6 Method of Drawing Conclusion
The writer uses inductive method in making final conclusion. The conclusion is from the data analysis as the result of the research and the answer of the problem.
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