AN ERROR ANALYSIS OF THE ENGLISH LEXIS AND STRUCTURE OF STUDENTS’ WAEC COMPOSITION A CASE STUDY OF GOVERNMENT SECONDARY SCHOOL, KURU, NASARAWA STATE

AN ERROR ANALYSIS OF THE ENGLISH LEXIS AND STRUCTURE OF STUDENTS’ WAEC COMPOSITION A CASE STUDY OF GOVERNMENT SECONDARY SCHOOL, KURU, NASARAWA STATE

ABSTRACT

This aim of the work is to demonstrate the error students often commit in their written compositions in the West African Examinations Council examination (WAEC), which by extension, shows their language inabilities. The work also offers an analysis of these errors in the table showing their scores. It finally explains how it affects their result. Error analysts distinguish between errors, which are systematic, and mistakes, which are not. They often seek to develop a typology of errors. Errors can be classified according to basic type: omissive, additive, substitutive or related to word order. Closely related to this is the classification according to domain, the breadth of context which the analyst must examine, and extent, the breadth of the utterance which must be changed in order to fix the error. Errors may also be classified according to the level of language: phonological errors, vocabulary or lexical errors, syntactic errors, and so on. They may be assessed according to the degree to which they interfere with communication. In the study of error analysis of this kind, the errors identified are dully classified into lexis and structure. It not only purviews all kinds of errors associated with lexis and structure but also stated the kind of errors that often occur more than others. The task, however, is by no means an easy one. This is because very often classes of errors overlap, and occasionally some errors simply do not lend themselves to a clear cut categorization. However, the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) marking guide seems to produce a near-perfect idea model of classification of the tremendous varieties of errors found in students’ compositions. The way in which errors are counted or enumerated affects directly the score frequencies, and statistics of errors, and therefore the results, conclusions, and evaluative power of the results. The data used in the study is adopted from the live examination scripts of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) of which the researcher is an assistant examiner (marker). They were part of the examination scripts he examined in the 2013 May/June WAEC examinations.