By S. P. Corder
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Additional info for Error Analysis and Interlanguage
These techniques take the form of elicitation procedures of various sorts. They have the objective of requiring the learner to reveal what he knows, that is, his 'transitional competence' or 'approximative system' by responding to various types of tests. These procedures are, of course, different in form and intention from tests devised to measure the learner's knowledge of the target language system. Their objective is descriptive not evaluative. Elicitation is a technique familiar to the linguist working with native speaking informants in the field and takes two forms: getting the informant to produce data of any sort or to produce data incorporating particular features in which the linguist is interested at that moment.
This time his utterances may be acceptable, or, once again, erroneous. He re-formulates his hypothesis if necessary. And so on. Each new hypothesis is, we hope, closer to the true facts of the target language. We can see from this analysis that at every moment in a learner's career he has what we can call a 'grammar', that is, a set of rules for making sentences. The only thing is, of course, that the rules are not always those of the target language. He has what William Nemser has called an 'approximative system' (or others an interlanguage) at each moment in his learning career.
Notice that this is almost always concerned with the student's knowledge of the code, and practically never with the student's communicative errors or failures. This is because, as we have already said, most classroom teaching still concentrates on teaching the code and not communicative competence, and because teachers are rarely in a position to observe their pupils' performance of the language in real situations of language use. In other words, most teachers simply do not know, from first-hand experience, how well their students will perform when they really have to use the language for communication.
Error Analysis and Interlanguage by S. P. Corder