One of the concepts I learned during my studies in second language acquisition was that of fossilized errors. Basically, they are errors that happen so often, learners adopt them as a natural part of speech. I see this time and time again as a teacher of French. The challenge is to help students overcome them.
I find that fossilized errors are especially common with French Immersion students. I marked my students’ unit test over the weekend and noticed that many of the same errors were occurring over and over again. I decided that the one fossilized error I wanted to focus on was the difference between “on” and “ont”. I’m so happy that I bought Les Homophones at the OMLTA conference. It has proven to be quite handy. I put the two words on the board and explained the difference. It was actually quite funny because one of the students who was consistently mixing up the two let out a loud “Ohhh…..”. I could tell that the lightbulb went off! I think they know the difference, but need to internalize it in order to use it properly. They did one of the exercises from the book on the concept. Hopefully, if I correct the error each time I notice it and remind them of the difference, it will help.
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