Title: Categorising spelling errors to assess L2 writing

Authors: Yves Bestgen, Sylviane Granger

Addresses: Centre for English Corpus Linguistics, Universite catholique de Louvain, Place du Cardinal Mercier 10, B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium. ' Centre for English Corpus Linguistics, Universite catholique de Louvain, Place Blaise Pascal 1, B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium

Abstract: Based on a corpus of 223 argumentative essays written by English as a foreign language learners, this study shows that spelling errors, whether detected manually or automatically, are a reliable predictor of the quality of L2 texts and that reliability is further improved by sub-categorising errors. However, the benefit derived from sub-categorisation is much lower in the case of errors automatically detected by means of the Microsoft Word 2007 spell checker, a situation which results from Word|s limited success in detecting and correcting some specific categories of L2 learner errors.

Keywords: teaching; English language; foreign languages; TEFL; automatic scoring; automatic error detection; misspellings; international corpus; learner English; ICLE; common European frameworks; language reference; CEFR; spell checkers; spelling errors; error sub-categorisation; language transfer; L1 transfers; letter doubling; word segmentation errors; L2 writing; second language; argumentative essays; predictors; text quality; reliability; Microsoft Word 2007; learner errors; continuing education; life-long learning; automatic free-text evaluation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCEELL.2011.040201

International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life-Long Learning, 2011 Vol.21 No.2/3, pp.235 - 252

Published online: 20 May 2011 *

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