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Contrastive Analysis and Error Analysis

Cindyra Galuhwardani
Historical Perspective
Language is a systematic means of communicating by the used of
sounds or conventional symbols. Language is important. It is the expression
of human communication through which our knowledge, belief, behavior can
be experienced, explained, and shared with another. In the present global
world, it is a vital for us to have an interaction more than ever with other
countries, other cultures. For that reason, we need action and learning other
countries languages and cultures. Therefore, we can compare and analyze
them with our language, or it is known as contrastive analysis.
The ways learning a second language:
• L1 and L2 may be learned simultaneously or successively.
• L2 may be learned at various ages: children, adolescents, or adults
• L2 can be learn in L1 and L2 Environtment

L2 Learning Condition

L2 Learning in L1 Environment L2 learning in L2 Environment

Guided learning Unguided learning

Tutored learning Untutored learning

Formal learning Informal learning

Spontaneous learning

Naturalistic learning

Foreign language learning Second language learning


According to Hakuta and Cancino (1977) they distinguish four different

approaches of perspective on the learners: contrastive analysis, error
analysis, performance analysis, and discourse analysis.
In this section, we will focused on two approaches (contrastive and error

Contrastive Analysis (CA)

A. Definition:
Contrastive Analysis is the systematic comparison of two or more
languages, with the aim of describing their similarities and differences. CA
has often been done for practical/pedagogical purposes. The aim has been
to provide better descriptions and better teaching materials for language
learners. Teaching materials can make use of contrastive analysis and the
difficulties between the two languages can predicted by CA.
Contrastive analysis is usually called in Indonesia as Anakon (Analisis
Konstrastif; Tarigan 1990). It is an approach used for studying, especially
for bilingual students. Anakon is different from Anakes (Analisis Kesalahan;
Elis in Tarigan; 2011:60). These two concepts are actually different.
However, they have the similar goal, that is, for bilingual students.
Contrastive analysis or contrastive linguistic is one of the applied linguistics
that analyzes and describes the comparison (equalities and differences)
between source language (L1) and target language (L2).

B. Purposes:
The fundamental and applied objectives have traditionally been
attributed to contrastive analysis:
 Providing insights into similarities and differences between languages
This purpose is to know the differences between 2 languages, for
English Turkish
He Waited
In English, has regular past tense suffix /ed/, but in Turkish
distinguishes between definite past tense /di/ (is used if the speakers
know, as a result of personal observation, that the reported event has
taken place) and narrative past tense /mis/ (used if the speaker has not
himself witnessed the reported action)

 Explaining and predicting problems in L2 learning

From CA we can know the predicting problems of L2 learners, so as a
teachers, they can correct fastly if the students make mistakes when
they learn second language.
 Developing course materials for language teaching
According to Fries(1945:9) the most effective materials (for teaching
L2) are those that are based upon a scientific description of language to
be learned, carefully compared with parallel description of native
language of the learner.

Error Analysis (EA)

A. Definition:
Error Analysis is one of the major topics in the field of second language
acquisition research. Errors are an integral part of language learning. The
learner of English as a second language is unaware of the existence of the
particular system or rule in English language. The learner’s errors have
long been interested for second and foreign language researchers. The
basic task of error analysis is to describe how learning occurs by examining
the learner’s output and this includes his/her correct and incorrect
Error Analysis is a type of linguistic analysis that focuses on the errors
learners make. It consists of a comparison between the errors made in the
target language and that target language itself. Error analysis emphasizes
the significance of learners‟ errors in second language. It is important to
note here that Interferences from the learner’s mother tongue is not only
reason for committing errors in his target language.

B. Purposes:
Richards et al (1992) mentioned the study of errors are used in order to
(1) identify strategies which learners use in language teaching, (2) identify
the causes of learners ,errors, and finally (3) obtain information on
common difficulties in language learning as an aid to teaching or in
development of teaching materials (cited in Khansir 2008).
The Importance of EA
 EA helps to understand the process of second language acquisition
 EA show statistically the troublesome linguistic areas or error that
L2 learners encounter in learning.
C. Classification of Error

Classificaton of Error Analysis

Interlingual Errors Intralingual Errors

(Transfer Errors, i.e (Overgeneralization
Error due to the effect Error, i.e Errors due to
from L1) the effect from L2.

- phonological : count vs country

- Phonological: /b/ for /p/
- syntatic : the letter sent to Ali
- syntactic : Huda good student
- semantic : idiomatic expression
- semantic : You fall from my eye
what's up Mike!

D. Limitation of Error Analysis

 The distinction used in fig. 4.6 (classification of deviation from the L2
norm) only have a limited use
 Some L2 learning phenomena cannot be captured at all by Error Analysis
 Error Analysis does not provide any insights into the course of the L2
learning process.