15.3596, Sum: Understandability of Errors

LINGUIST List linguist at linguistlist.org
Fri Dec 24 04:11:24 UTC 2004

LINGUIST List: Vol-15-3596. Thu Dec 23 2004. ISSN: 1068 - 4875.

Subject: 15.3596, Sum: Understandability of Errors

Moderators: Anthony Aristar, Wayne State U <aristar at linguistlist.org>
            Helen Aristar-Dry, Eastern Michigan U <hdry at linguistlist.org>

Reviews (reviews at linguistlist.org)
        Sheila Collberg, U of Arizona
        Terry Langendoen, U of Arizona

Homepage: http://linguistlist.org/

The LINGUIST List is funded by Eastern Michigan University, Wayne
State University, and donations from subscribers and publishers.

Editor for this issue: Naomi Fox <fox at linguistlist.org>

To post to LINGUIST, use our convenient web form at


Date: 23-Dec-2004
From: Noriko Nakanishi (Hirokawa) < questionnaire2004 at mail.goo.ne.jp >
Subject: Understandability of Errors

-------------------------Message 1 ----------------------------------
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 2004 23:08:12
From: Noriko Nakanishi (Hirokawa) < questionnaire2004 at mail.goo.ne.jp >
Subject: Understandability of Errors

Dear Linguists,

Thank you for your responses to the query and summary submitted on Aug.26
in Linguist 15.2394 (http://linguistlist.org/issues/15/15-2394.html#2) and
Aug.30 in Linguist 15.2412 (http://linguistlist.org/issues/15/15-2412.html).

Listed below is the statistical data on the understandability of error
sentences, judged by 321 respondents (Native speakers of English=121,
Japanese=106, Others=94). The 60 sentences were judged according to the
5-scale understandability levels ('1=very easy' to '5= very difficult'),
thus the smaller the means of evaluation, the easier the error sentences
were judged to be. The means, and standard deviations (SD) of the 60
sentences are listed according to the degree of understandability, "the
easiest sentence" on top and the 'most difficult sentence' at the bottom.

Means   SD      error sentences
1.240   0.588   Q10     He always talk a lot. (talks)
1.246   0.674   Q24     It took me a hour to get there. (an hour)
1.370   0.792   Q53     The book was in a good condition. (good condition)
1.390   0.712   Q58     I look forward to hear from you. (hearing)
1.439   0.937   Q05     He has lived in London all his life. (has been)
1.455   0.802   Q09     It was one of those hot day in June. (days)
1.470   0.810   Q59     I had a lot of mails today. (mail)
1.470   0.802   Q28     He took her teeths off. (teeth)
1.505   0.811   Q07     She has a very important work to do. (very important work)
1.523   1.019   Q06     Have you heard from him lately? (recently)
1.526   0.852   Q03     Some weeks ago I have seen an English film. (saw)
1.536   0.794   Q17     Here are the money I owe you. (is)
1.542   0.825   Q19     She is married with a German. (to)
1.548   0.964   Q26     She is always finding faults with me. (fault)
1.560   0.850   Q54     Where does the spiders go? (do)
1.632   1.163   Q08     She prefers walking to cycling. (likes walking better than)
1.680   0.982   Q43     I'm going out this night. (evening)
1.720   0.998   Q27     She had her radio beside herself. (her)
1.750   0.912   Q48     She name is Maria. (Her)
1.751   1.090   Q30     Me need crayons now. (I)
1.760   1.010   Q01     He as well as I am wrong. (Both he and I are wrong.)
1.780   0.948   Q40     What do you do yesterday? (did)
1.790   0.946   Q44     My mother was grown up in the country. (grew)
1.800   0.956   Q56     I came here five years before. (ago)
1.804   1.181   Q29     Is this seat empty? (taken)
1.850   1.066   Q34     What you reading yesterday? (were you reading)
1.857   1.097   Q04     John is blue eyes. (has)
1.890   1.138   Q50     You do good coffee! (make)
1.900   1.067   Q42     She cannot to go. (cannot go)
1.910   0.997   Q13     Are you noticing these changes in his behavior? (Do you notice)
1.930   1.103   Q49     Can I borrow the bathroom? (use)
2.030   1.048   Q52     They kept the idea secretly. (secret)
2.040   1.139   Q41     Please teach me the reason. (tell)
2.040   1.327   Q39     They were badly shaken by the news. (shocked)
2.165   1.124   Q16     The pupils have no interesting in English. (interest)
2.170   1.335   Q51     I was bought that book by my father. (My father bought me that
2.180   1.183   Q33     Give me a telephone when you get home. (call)
2.199   1.136   Q11     The country was discovering by Columbus. (discovered)
2.200   1.120   Q60     A sun becomes red (The sun)
2.220   1.262   Q45     I am a salary man. (a salaried worker)
2.252   1.099   Q15     Here came the bus. (comes)
2.300   1.168   Q31     It will take more two months to finish this work. (two more
2.340   1.235   Q23     It no cause too much trouble. (doesn't cause)
2.433   1.373   Q20     He works very hardly. (hard)
2.460   1.250   Q32     Thank you very much for various things. (everything)
2.492   1.292   Q02     I will arrive until two o'clock. (before)
2.533   1.299   Q21     May I have your sign, sir? (signature)
2.592   1.332   Q14     Please wipe out the front glass. (windshield)
2.598   1.281   Q12     His attitude against them was good. (towards)
2.650   1.229   Q46     The accident depended on the bad weather. (was due to)
2.676   1.217   Q25     They are good combinations for each other. (partners)
2.730   1.303   Q35     You are too sweet with your children. (indulgent)
2.740   1.224   Q36     Please see my things for a few minutes. (watch)
2.785   1.309   Q18     He thinks not that they know what to do. (doesn't think)
3.210   1.340   Q55     I was there in accident. (by accident)
3.277   1.417   Q22     They're painting his own faces. (their)
3.280   1.653   Q37     What kind of arbeit do you do? (part-time job)
3.500   1.260   Q57     That's a little bit over. (exaggerated)
3.700   1.409   Q38     Are you a car today? (driving)
4.040   1.253   Q47     That is a poison to my eyes. (too attractive and tempting)

Further analyses will be shown on the web page:

1. Now I am working on the correlation between each respondent?s judgment and
 1.1. the native language group he / she belongs to
 1.2. the number of different languages he /she can speak.

2. The further study will include the classification of error types according to
the degree of understandability.  So far, the possible classification patterns are:
 2.1. developmental / transfer errors
 2.2. morphological / lexical / syntactical  errors.

Thank you again for your cooperation.
Noriko Nakanishi

Linguistic Field(s): Language Acquisition

LINGUIST List: Vol-15-3596

More information about the Linguist mailing list