Research Proposal on Fossilization

Topics: Second language acquisition, Language acquisition, Linguistics Pages: 6 (1878 words) Published: December 18, 2012


This study will be focusing on errors occur in writing among the form 5 students. It will cover the aspects of grammar and the most prominent errors made by the students. It is not possible that the errors made are some of the fossilized structure of their interlanguage. Since this students have learnt English as their second language since they are in kindergarten, there must be some fossilization occurs in their interlanguage that can obstruct them from fully mastering English as their second language. It is important to know that the errors are actually stabilization or fossilization in which the teacher can do something about it. The prevention planning can be as early as form 1 and therefore a thorough research about the errors made especially in writing will be helpful for the teachers and schools to cater their students with all the needed lesson or skills to learn. Teaching just by following the syllabus is not really helpful as there are different levels of students to be catered in class. Hopefully, this research can give more insight and idea for teachers to plan their teaching in future.


There are not much researches made to investigate about fossilization among second language learner. There are a few of them that focus on the approach of typical errors, advanced-learner, corrective feedback and so on. In 1989, Kellerman studied the linguistic features that give rise to the syntactic accent of Dutch-English interlanguage. The hypothesis of the study was whether the homogenous background of L1 and the errors that not only stay with the members but also with its most advanced members are indicative of fossilization. So the study was focusing on wide range of Dutch respondents that use English as a second language. The findings show that fossilized structure was a function of intersection of multiple tendencies that are avoidance directly transferring the modal meaning of Dutch past tenses to English past tenses, avoidance of structural ambiguity and creation of a structural symmetry. The Native language influence was said to have taken a subtle form.

The other research was done in1991 by Lennon. He claimed that study of one learner could lead to an in-depth knowledge of the interlanguage system and stressed that it was necessary to conduct longitudinal studies to establish under what circumstances fossilization may set in (1991:131). He sets against the paradoxical issues of ‘transitional competence and ‘error fossilization’. He found out that his respondent Andrea, a 24 years old postgraduate German learner of English was seen to make systematic and regular errors that are adverb order with reference to ‘only’ and ‘already’, ‘there is/there are’, ‘have got’, use and overuse of ‘always’ and future time forms (1991:129). The finding was she has no improvement overtime, insensitivity to input and no grammar modification to only one of the typical errors she made. He claimed that there might be some fossilization operating to her errors (future tense).

There are also some researches made regarding corrective feedback to confront any fossilization. Selinker and Lamendella (1979:373) suggested the conclusion that a particular learner had indeed fossilized could be drawn on if the cessation of further interlanguage learning persisted in spite of the learners’ ability, opportunity and motivation to learn the target language and acculturate into the target society. The quite latest research was conducted in 2009 by Brian MacWhinney regarding ‘emergent fossilization’ where he studied about the source of fossilization whether it emerges from the effect of critical period hypothesis or the lateralization in human brain especially for adult learners of second language. So, there actually not much researches done to investigate fossilization in-depth specifically into the...
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