An analysis of lexical errors in the English compositions of EFL Tunisian learners

Sondes Hamdi


Research in applied linguistics emphasizes the significance of learners’ errors in SLA and EFL contexts. Despite the continuous interest in error analysis, to the best of our knowledge, no study has provided a systematic analysis of lexical errors committed by Tunisian learners of English at the ISEAH Institute of Kef (Tunisia). This paper tries to fill up this gap by investigating the lexical errors made by 20 EFL learners of Business English at the ISEAH Institute of Kef.  The participants were in their third year of study at the ISEAH Institute of Kef (Tunisia). They had learned EFL for eight years. Arabic and French were the languages they spoke at school. Arabic was the only language they spoke at home and with friends. The participants were two males and 18 females, similar in age, ranging from 19 to 21 years old. They had had little previous English-writing experience in their secondary school, since writing was not emphasized at these levels. The data analysis was conducted within the framework of James’s lexical error taxonomy (1998). The results showed that the participants committed more formal errors (94.44 % of the total number of lexical errors) than semantic errors (only 0.05 % of the total number of lexical errors). The implications of the study for English teachers have been highlighted.


EFL Acquisition, English, Arabic, Lexis, Error Analysis, transfer.

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