An Analysis of Types and Causes of Errors in Chinese EFL Students’ Writing
Keywords:English writing, Chinese EFL learners, error types, language transfer
Given the significance of the development of productive skills in college English teaching in China, writing assessment and evaluation have gained much attention. Previous studies have pointed out that the extent of improvement in learners’ writing proficiency can be due to differences in the teaching objectives, syllabus and curriculum. Based on error analysis theory and transfer theory, this paper explores the common types and underlying causes of errors in Chinese EFL students’ writings. In data collection, non-English major students from Zhejiang University of Finance and Economic were asked to complete a writing assignment on Pigai Website as their coursework. Pigai, with automatic processing and scoring, conducts online correction and identifies the errors in the writing samples. Altogether, 70 compositions were collected. A semi-structured interview was carried out to get more in-depth insights into learner’s writing process. Findings indicated that three typical types of writing errors were among EFL students’ writing samples: lexical errors, grammatical errors and discourse errors. Among them, grammatical errors ranked the top, followed by the lexical errors and the discourse errors. Moreover, mother tongue interference, target language interference and psychological factors partly explained the errors in Chinese EFL students’ writing. It is hoped that the detailed analysis of writing errors can improve EFL learners’ writing proficiency and reduce errors in their writing performances.