Thursday, December 6, 2012
By Betty Azar
Author, Azar Grammar Series
I recently received an email from a teacher concerned that exposing students to incorrect language usage in error correction exercises will lead to fossilization of the incorrect usage. Below is my response to him, which I thought might be of interest to others as well.
“Fossilization” means that usage errors have become embedded (i.e., habitual) in L2 learners’ language production. It occurs when learners get no corrective feedback. In some cases, L2 learners with fossilized language patterns are able to communicate successfully enough for their immediate purposes and thus have no immediate motivation to change. Other times, L2s have no resources available to help them improve their English usage.
L2 learners who come to our classes, however, do not want to emerge with fossilized language. That’s why they are in our classes, trusting us to move them forward during their interlanguage period as they reach toward a higher level of communicative competence. Read more »