Learning a Second Language (L2) is a lifelong process and it is often a challenging experience for L2 learners. English has become the L2 after it was introduced to Malaysia during colonization. Presently, it is an international language and is used as the language in international relations, and in exchanging knowledge and technology. It was only since a few decades ago that it was taught to almost all schoolchildren. In general, local Malaysian students have been exposed to eleven years of learning English language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) in primary and secondary schools. Current era, good English writing competence is widely recognized as an important skill for educational, business and personal reasons. The ability to write effectively in English is becoming increasingly important in our global community as communication across language becomes ever more essential. On the other hand, writing is a complex process which demands cognitive analysis and linguistic synthesis. It is even harder to learn to write in a second language, and it takes considerable time and effort to become a skillful writer. The present study seeks to explore ESL learners’ major writing difficulties by analyzing the nature and distribution of their writing errors. There are several ways of thinking about errors in writing. For example, in light of what we, as linguists, know about second language acquisition and what we know about how texts, context and the writing process interact with one another students‟ writing in L2 generally contains varying degrees of grammatical and rhetorical errors. These kinds of errors are especially common among L2 writers who do not have enough language skills to express what they want to say in a comprehensible way. The present study analyses the English L2 language errors in the writing of Malaysian learners.
Statement of Problem
English occupies the status of a L2 in the Malaysian education system in both primary and secondary schools. However, learning English as a L2 is not an easy task. According to Brown (2000), in order to master the English language, learners have to be adequately exposed to all of the four basic skills, namely listening, speaking, reading and writing. Language teaching in this country is currently focusing on the teaching and learning of the four language skills. However, the standard of English, among Malaysian children is on the decline despite learning English for several years. Malaysian students are still weak in English, especially in their writing skills. They still seem to commit errors in all aspects of language. According to James (1988) errors in writing such as tenses, prepositions and weak vocabulary are the most common and frequent type of errors that are committed by learners. Since grammar is seen only as a means to an end, some learners tend to re-emphasize its importance and in the process, they make many more errors. The learners usually face difficulties in learning the grammatical aspects of the Target Language (TL), such as in subject-verb agreement, the use of preposition, articles and the use of correct tense. Such errors can be seen clearly in the learners’ written performance. The problems that the students are bound to encounter would be weak vocabulary, inappropriate use of grammar in sentences and etc. Thus, teachers who can analyze and treat errors effectively are better equipped to help their students become more aware of their errors. The use of Error Analysis (EA) and appropriate corrective techniques can aid effective learning and teaching of English. It is understood that learning a second language is a gradual process, during which mistakes are to be expected in all stages of learning. Mistakes will not disappear simply because they have been pointed out to the learner, contrary to what some language learners and teachers believe. In fact making mistakes is a natural process of...
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