Copula omission by EFL Arab learners

Alshayban, Abdullah S., author
Flahive, Douglas, advisor
Ehlers-Zavala, Fabiola, committee member
Hirchi, Mohammed, committee member
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Copula omission is found to be one of the major and most frequent errors that Arab EFL learners make when writing in English. Several studies have examined copula omission by Arab EFL learners. Most of those studies have concluded that copula omission is the result of negative transfer from Arabic to English since Arabic and English are structurally far different. The present study investigates the phenomenon of copula omission by Saudi EFL learners. It also examines whether the negative transfer from Arabic to English leads to copula dropping by Arab learners. Data were collected from 100 Saudi students at Qassim University in Saudi Arabia. The participants were 100 Saudi male students of whom 50 were enrolled at the intermediate level, or the 3rd level, at the English department at Qassim University and the other 50 were enrolled at the advanced 7th level at the same department. The participants were asked to write an essay describing themselves, their family members, where they were born, the city they grew up in, how old they were, how old their parents and siblings were, the city they lived in currently, and also about their ambitions and plans for the future. The results of this study revealed that the participants made errors by deleting the English copula. The statistical analysis showed that the copula omission was more frequent in the present and past tenses. The findings also revealed that intermediate students make more errors than the advanced students. There was a significant difference between the advanced and intermediate participants as regards the number of errors in the present and future tenses. The study ends with pedagogical implications, limitations, and suggestions and recommendations for future research.
2012 Spring.
Includes bibliographical references.
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