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An Investigation of the Orthographic Errors in the Graded Discussion Board of Virtual University of Pakistan

Muhammad Asif

The study explored the types of orthographic errors and their probable causes in the students’ postings on the Graded Discussion Board (GDB) of Virtual University of Pakistan (VUP). The purpose of the GDB is to invite comments from students on a given topic; students place their comments within a given time limit and get graded accordingly. Misspelling is a natural and common phenomenon among the second language (L2) learners. However, due to the availability of spell check software options, misspellings should get minimized in online discussions. For the present study, the spelling mistakes committed by the graduate students of English Comprehension (ENG101) course were analyzed. The findings demonstrated many types of spelling mistakes including inconsistent rules, ambiguous words, vowel substitutions, consonant substitutions, space inaccuracy, inflectional endings, double consonants, consonant omissions, vowel omissions, tense mistakes and letter reversals. Some of the causes explored were quick and direct typing on the interface, keyboard adjacency and not using the spell check software. The results revealed that major spelling mistakes were due to the lack of inappropriate guidance, insufficient practice and lack of adequate awareness about inflectional morphology. Some recommendations to improve spelling mistakes either on students end or through teaching techniques have been suggested at the end.

Orthographic, Errors, Misspelling, Graded Discussion Board, Inflectional morphology.

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