The Nitty-gritty of Language Learners’ Errors – Contrastive Analysis, Error Analysis and Interlanguage

Bandar Mohammad Saeed Al-Sobhi


The major aim of the current paper is to review and discuss three prevailing approaches to the study of Second Language Acquisition (SLA) since the middle of the twentieth century: Contrastive Analysis (CA, henceforth), Error Analysis (EA) and Interlanguage (IL). It begins with a general overview of how the CA approach was formulated and developed and discusses the three versions of CA which were displaced later by other approaches, such as EA and IL. The paper also provides an in-depth theoretical discussion of the notion of EA in terms of its definitions, goals, significance, development, causes and procedures. The discussion about the SLA approaches concludes with a review of IL which claims that language learners produce a separate linguistic system with its own salient features, which differs from their L1 and target language. Additionally, a bulk of previous studies conducted on EA in different contexts are reviewed throughout the paper.


Contrastive Analysis, Error Analysis, Interlanguage

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