A web site for the developing language teacher

Profile of a language learner
by Scott Shelton

- 3


- Beatriz has showed poor control of spelling and word formation, which is also evident in the other sections of the diagnostic test. Writting, clearify, disafortunate, legal actions, misunderstands readers (misleads), apologise for apology, lyes for lies, inepts (a L1 transfer from 'ineptos'), have ever belive those lyes.(slip-forgetting to use past participle)

- Also problematic are omissions of the definite article in 'outside Rex Cinema' (3), ignoring the limit of subjects in 'I would like to explain what it really happened' (6,7), omission of main verb in 'In (performing) this heroic action...(10) and ignorance of transitivity in 'what really happened and what your article described had nothing to do with (each other, the facts)', and omission of subject, twice, in ' (I) am American.

- An attempt at using collocations was made, which I think is a sign of risk taking and although she does not always get them right, making mistakes is a sign of learning. Examples are: fatal day (all right in form but not appropriate in this context), clearifying article (marred by spelling) disafortunate incident (wrong prefix-unfortunate) misunderstands readers (wrong root word-lead).

- Misuse of 'regard', line 19. Either wrong word (demand, would like to see) or incomplete clause, (so I regard a… necessary, to be the correct thing to do)

Overall the letters have more positive elements than negative ones. I have seen Beatriz improve over the months in her writing and although there are definite areas that she needs to work on, I think that she shows positive steps towards becoming a more competent writer in English.

An analysis of the Speaking test (Appendix E5)

To analyze the speaking test the following criteria suggested in the CAE handbook (2000) will be used:

- Grammar and vocabulary
- Discourse management
- Pronunciation
- Interactive communication

Strengths and weakness based on the Diagnostic Speaking test (examples are taken from the transcript) The line number where each phrase can be found in the transcript is noted in parenthesis at the end of each entry. See appendix E5.

Grammar (accuracy and appropriacy)


- She's right now working (word order) (1)
- I'll be in the beach (wrong preposition) (5)
- It seems as (if) he has just climbed it (omission of 'If' in structure) (9-10)
- Just in the ice (wrong preposition) (18)
- I like the one…where's a little girl with her mom's shoes (omission of there) (25-26)
- Well, I didn't think about the bears, I was thinking about the one…(confusion of past simple for past continuous) (56)
- I don't think it can gets the people because it isn't cute (wrong modal verb-should be would, third person 's' following modal verb) (47)

Good usage

- She likes travelling and learning languages and she has a very good accent. (2-3)
- …Yes, since I was three (4)
- …I hope I'll be with some of my friends having fun. (5-6)
- …the man who is resting from his work because he seems exhausted and depressed. (21-22)
- They want to learn and it shows how they are growing up. (41-42)
- I would probably choose kids around ten years old because they are old enough to understand what you are telling them. (62-63)
- I would rather just have pictures about little kids. (38)

Beatriz is still forming her hypothesis of how grammar and syntax work, as she is as often accurate as inaccurate in this area. In my informal classroom observation of her, I find that she has very good days and very bad ones. This may be due to the strain of University studies and projects. This may also be a consequence of not reading sufficiently on her own outside of class.

Vocabulary (accuracy and appropriacy)


- He must be just glad of himself (wrong word-should be 'proud' inappropriate use of just)) (11)
- Shows the innocencey of the childhood (consistent with her problems with morphology) (26-27)
- The clouds and the ceiling (wrong word-should be sky) (13)
- Probably he's one of those person that …(confusion of plural/singular-should be people) (20)
- What would you do to make them know it's kid's day? (confusion with make and let) (68)
- Get friends with each other (wrong word (collocation)-should be make friends) (72)
- I would make them discuss about the different points of view (use of make when 'have' would have been more appropriate-common Spanish L1 interference following discuss with adverb about. In Spanish: Discutir sobre) (70-71)…

Good usage

- She's been living abroad (1)
- He seems exhausted and depressed (22)
- He's completely confused (23)
- I like the idea of the discussion (70)
- The man who is resting from his work (21)

Beatriz has a somewhat limited and often inaccurate lexical resource for an advanced student. She has mentioned that she feels this is her weak area in writing but because her communicative competence is good, I do not think she has realized that she also lacks in this area when speaking. This may be due to her limited opportunities to use English outside of class.

Discourse Management (range and coherence)

Poor coherence

- "So he must be just glad of himself as he could get through this because the mountain is quite difficult to climb. And he can only see the clouds and the ceiling and he might feel so free but not like the other one, he seems flying while in this one he feels glad of himself, proud and very happy."(10-15)

It was difficult to follow the monologue at this point. I think that this is mainly due to the misuse of modals, the lack of clarity in which picture she was comparing to which, and for lack of pausing.

Good range and coherence

- Well, I think it would be a good idea if it really that…does something. Because if it's just the day and it doesn't get to the kids because just older people know it, I don't think it works. (95-97)

- Well, I would probably choose kids around ten years old because they are old enough to understand what you are telling them but also they are young enough to change their look at it, their view, because older one I don't think they would pay much attention. Don't you think so?

Although there are some (non-impeding) errors her meaning is clear. She gives her opinion and invites the other speaker to make a comment in the second example. In the other example, she responds coherently and uses a range of structures to get her message across.

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