Tense and aspect errors in spoken learner English
Language testing guidelines like the Common European Framework of Referencefor Languages (CEFR) have been very influential for language testing and assessment,yet the way they define proficiency levels using ‘can-do-statements’ hasoften been criticized as being too vague. In the present chapter, I will take acorpus-based approach towards spoken accuracy in advanced German learnerEnglish and report on the findings of an error analysis of the most error-pronecategory in the German component of the Louvain International Database ofSpoken English Interlanguage (LINDSEI). Focusing on verb-tense related errors,the present study not only reveals what is especially error-prone in the case ofadvanced German learners of English in this category (e.g. reported speech,conditionals), but it also shows that even at an advanced level, learners appearto form a fairly heterogeneous group with regard to the number of errors.However, the types of errors committed at this proficiency level are quite systematic,and this allows for a thorough description of advanced learners’ errorprofiles. In the final section of this chapter, I will take these findings to suggesta text-centred description of different proficiency levels in advanced Germanlearners’ speech at the university level and sketch out some avenues for futureresearch.