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Document Details :

Title: Punctuation in English and its Interlanguage Effects
Subtitle: Underuse, Overuse and Misuse
Author(s): NSAKALA, Lengo M. , MATONDO, Roger K.
Journal: ITL - International Journal of Applied Linguistics
Volume: 159    Date: 2010   
Pages: 52-78
DOI: 10.2143/ITL.159.0.2083124

Abstract :
This article discusses the manifestations of interlanguage punctuation from a short dialogue in which the subjects of the investigation had to restore missing punctuation marks. The testees realized a meagre score in the task, leaving out punctuation marks where they were compulsory, inserting punctuation marks where they were not needed, and placing punctuation marks where others were required. This state of affairs emanated from a poor command of these orthographic devices. The sample was composed of four groups of students of English, and the one-way analysis of variance conducted on their performance showed a significant difference across the groups. Such a situation proves that although punctuation is under-represented in grammar classes, students manage to acquire incidentally personal information on this area in their target language development. However, the knowledge acquired is inadequate to satisfy the specifications of punctuation in a piece of textual material. It was also observed that students encounter more problems with non-terminal than with terminal punctuation marks. Therefore, systematic instruction is recommended in order to promote students’ control of these devices in text production and in text reception.