Quality of Lithuanian Language of Native and Non-native Students
The aim of the paper is to answer the questions about the extent of specific types of errors in Lithuanian and non-Lithuanian students’ performance on the same test and what it can say about native speakers’ and non-native speakers’ Lithuanian competence. Research material was a C-test completed by 326 third grade pupils of 6 Gymnasiums in Vilnius. There were 127 Lithuanian, 96 Polish, and 103 Russian pupils aged between 16–17. A total of 19,560 test items were analysed combining quantitative and qualitative error analysis methods.
Data analysis leads to the following conclusions:
1. The analysis of the extent of the errors revealed that the two non-native speaker groups are similar. The native speaker group made significantly fewer errors in all categories. The results of the analysis of the nature of errors suggest that, in principle, grammatical competence of non-native speakers is closer to that of native speakers than lexical competence.
2. An examination of the same problematic points for all three groups reveals that, in most cases, both native and non-native speakers make the same mistakes, but non-native speakers make more of them. This suggests that the skills which differentiate between native speakers are the ones that are more difficult to develop for non-native speakers as well.
3. Non-native speakers have a narrower vocabulary than native speakers, they make more lexical mistakes. However, it should also be noted that native speaker performance is also dominated by lexical errors.
4. Analysis of the most problematic points revealed that grammar mistakes in such cases are more often made by native speakers than by non-native speakers. These grammatical mistakes are probably due to the lack of strong ability of native speakers to see beyond the words immediately following each other, to take into account more complex constructions, long sentences and to understand the logic of the text.
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