Morpho-syntactic errors in the written English of first year undergraduate students in Kenya
Njoroge, Martin C.
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The aim of this study was to examine the morpho-syntactic errors in the written English of the first year undergraduate students in Kenya. The sample was drawn from the first year students of English in Kenyatta University. All the 315 first year students of English wrote two essays from which a random sample of 120 scripts was selected. Using the "Let the Errors Determine the Categories" approach the errors in the following grammatical categories were identified: Noun Phrase, Verb Phrase, Preposition, Adjective, Adverb, Complementation, Word Order, Concord, Clause link and Negation. The identified errors were then described using the Error Analysis Method (Corder, 1974). The errors were determined through a consideration of the deviations of the students grammar from the norms of the target language (English) as described for example in Quirk et al. (1985). The data analysis showed that Phrase related errors were the most frequent and the negation errors were least frequent. Finally, on the basis of the available literature on error analysis, the study discusses some causes of the errors observed and identifies some pedagogic strategies that can be used to alleviate these errors. After considering various causes, it was evident that overgeneralization was the main cause of the morpho-syntactic errors found in the English of these first year undergraduate students. The thesis is divided into five chapters. Chapter one is a general introduction to the study. Chapter two contains the literature review. The findings of the research are presented and discussed in chapter three. Chapter four discusses the possible causes of the errors observed and proposes certain pedagogic strategies that can be used to reduce these errors. Finally, implications, areas for further research and conclusion are contained in chapter five.