Towards specialized language support: an elaborated framework for Error Analysis

Leigh McDowell*, Cassi Liardét

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    The global rise in academic scholarship and pressure to publish in high-impact English-medium journals has led to an increased focus on multilingual scholars and the obstacles they face when communicating across academic and professional domains. Although preparing research for scholarly publication is challenging for most academics, multilingual scholars face the added demands of communicating their work in a foreign language. As one of the largest producers of scientific publications worldwide, Japanese scientists wrestle daily with these challenges and typically employ proofreading as a common coping strategy. Motivated by years of supporting Japanese scientists through the proofreading process, this study employs an Error Analysis (EA) framework, elaborated with the functional descriptions of Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL), to investigate error patterns in research article manuscripts written by thirteen Japanese materials scientists. Results highlight the difficulties that the nominal group constitutes for participants, with almost half (47.81%) of the identified errors occurring within complex nominal groups. Further, the analysis reveals the most dominant error pattern involves errors with articles and plural -s. Findings from the study inform the design of a pedagogical tool to assist Japanese materials scientists and language specialists alike in identifying and rectifying these errors.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)16-28
    Number of pages13
    JournalEnglish for Specific Purposes
    Early online date16 Oct 2019
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


    • English for Research Publication Purposes
    • copyediting
    • Japanese materials scientists
    • Error Analysis
    • Systemic Functional Linguistics
    • nominal groups


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