Arab World English Journal
AWEJ Vol.2 No. 4 December 2011                                                                                                  pp. 88-135

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The Effect of Consciousness Raising on Errors
In L2 Question Formation: An Investigation of Omani Students

Dr. Jaishree Umale
Dhofar University, Oman

Abstract
The article discusses the effects of consciousness raising on errors of Omani students in L2 question formation. A child effortlessly acquires the rules of the mother tongue (L1) with the help of an internal mechanism but foreign language learners fall back on their mother tongue when learning a new language (L2). EFL learners commit mistakes as the features of L2 are different from that of L1. Ellis (1994) and Schmidt (1990) believe that if EFL learners are taught grammar by raising their consciousness regarding the features of L2, it may facilitate learning. Consciousness raising is an attempt at directing the learner‟s attention towards particular features of the language. By raising the consciousness of the students, they are able to perceive the targeted features of the language and form internal representatives of them. Next time when they perceive the same features, it becomes the input and on subsequent noticing the features are internalized and acquired. This helps in minimizing errors.25 students of Salalah College of Technology participated in this study. A pre test was administered to them to test their knowledge of L2 question formation. It was followed by a consciousness raising task. A week later an interpretation task was administered to test if students had noticed features they had been made conscious about. A post test was given a week later to find out the developments that had taken place. It was found that consciousness raising had a positive effect on reducing errors in L2 question formation, though marginally. It helped significantly in reducing the errors committed due to lack of ignorance of the rules of L2 question formation. No effect was seen when students were at the intralingual stage. They were not ready to learn the structures of the new language.

Keywords: Consciousness raising and language acquisition, Errors in L2 question formation, Question formation in English, Question formation in Arabic, Description of errors, Explicit Grammar instructions

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Dr. Jaishree Umale is presently serving at Dhofar University in Salalah, Oman. She bears a Ph D in English Literature and has also completed MA in Applied Linguistics and TESOL from Leicester University, U.K. She is interested in Second Language Acquisition, Pragmatics and Educational Technology.