An Analysis of the Linguistic Errors Made by Students in Saudi Arabian Schools in the Acquisition of the Auxiliary “Do”: A Comparison Between Boys’ and Girls’ Performances

Author: Rasha Aslaim

Keywords: acquisition of the auxiliary, comparison analysis. English language, linguistic errors, students, Saudi schools


Recently there has been an upsurge in research into why students of foreign languages make mistakes. There have been many reasons given including interference of the mother tongue and over-generalisation of the rules of the language being studied. This research is concerned with the reasons for mistakes but will concentrate on a particular focus, i.e. the mistakes made by English language students regarding the auxiliary verb “do”. This is seen as a particularly difficult area for many foreign students of English language as this linguistic term does not feature in many other languages and is, therefore, a problem for some language students to grasp. It is hoped that reasons for the many mistakes (i.e. omissions, incorrect verb tense, etc.) can be identified and that from this identification, methods can be found to teach this term in a way that will allow students to grasp the concept and retain it throughout their language- learning careers. This dissertation is based on an error analysis of English written performances by students in the Third Grade (equivalent to Ninth Grade elsewhere) of the Intermediate Boys and Girls’ schools in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It focuses on the examination and analysis of the students’ performances in a translation test. This should reveal information about some of the students’ errors in the acquisition of the auxiliary “do”, and other factors which might affect their English language learning. Furthermore, this dissertation seeks to find out whether there are any disparities in the responses of each of the two groups to the translation test which may be attributable to gender.