Iranian Advanced EFL Learners’ Perceptions of the Gravity of Their Peers’ Written Lexical Errors: The Case of Intelligibility and Acceptability

Document Type : Original Article


1 Assistant professor, English department, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran

2 Ph.D. candidate, English department, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran

3 Islamic Azad University, Savadkooh Branch, Savadkooh, Iran



Errors are an important feature of development in a second language as they indicate the state of learners' knowledge. This study investigates the gravity of the lexical errors made by Iranian advanced EFL learners from the perspective of their peer advanced EFL learners. Sixty advanced Iranian undergraduate students who were majoring in English Language and Literature at Shahid Beheshti University of Tehran, Iran, took part in this research. The participants, who were selected through purposive sampling, were given a questionnaire containing eleven lexically erroneous sentences extracted from their fellow advanced students’ writings. They were required to judge those sentences in terms of their acceptability and intelligibility. The results indicated that the students considered mis-ordering as least acceptable type of errors (mean:1.78) and calque (i.e., translation from L1) the least intelligible type (mean: 2.46). The results further showed that there was a strong positive correlation between acceptability and intelligibility ratings of the errors by the advanced EFL learners, meaning that the more acceptable the errors, the more intelligible they were. The findings of this study can help improve our understanding of EFL learners’ problems; they can also inform EFL teachers’ instructional planning and remedial practices, especially in the English as an international language paradigm.


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