Morphosyntactic accuracy in the written compositions of advanced university level students of French
This article investigates the morphosyntactic accuracy of second year examination compositions written by advanced level students of French. The study provides a detailed error analysis of 212 compositions done on the basis of an error classification system consisting of twenty-two linguistic categories. The findings derived from this data highlight areas where students’ linguistic competence is at its weakest, and the rate of progress made by students from one semester to another. More specifically, they present the problem of linguistic accuracy, or rather lack thereof, as widespread, deeply engrained, and worthy of serious attention. The outcome of this investigation leads to a discussion of practical and theoretical explanations for our students’ lack of morphosyntactic accuracy and to a consideration of ways of reducing orthographic and grammatical imprecision. The effectiveness of focus on form is examined, with particular reference to processing instruction linked to the classroom use of the French grammar checker Le Correcteur 101.
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