Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Criticism of the Tamil Short Film: Sambalilirinthu (From the Ashes): English and Tamil Text versions


The Criticism of the Tamil Short Film: Sambalilirinthu (From the Ashes)
Reviewer: Dr. Jeyaseelan Gnanaseelan, senior Lecturer, Vavuniya Campus of the Jaffna University. (jeya86@hotmail.com)


Once again, Mr. A. Nishanthan, has directed a Tamil short film (8 minutes), Sambalilirinthu, (From the Ashes), sponsored by the Oblates of the Society for Social Services.  The function for the release of the film was held at ‘Annai Illam’ (the Home of the Mother), the Centre of the Oblates of Social services in Kilinochchi on 20th February 2014. It is a film about the post-war survival of a Vanni family seriously traumatized physically and psychologically. The survival leading to revival efforts of the family are projected as a microcosm symbolizing the macrocosm of the entire Vanni families affected by the ethnic conflict and the intensive war at the end during 2008 and 2009. The momentum of the emotional moments of the inception of the resettlement and rehabilitation efforts of the family is portrayed dynamically with an intensive symbolic significance.  The determined survival efforts of the directly affected, parent-deprived, education-deprived, disabled but responsible children and the young ones are dichotomized against the carefree, irresponsible life style of the less affected or unaffected ones.
The role of Tamil Women who are the majority in the Vanni is projected as the primary force to be reckoned with and they should lead the Tamil society during this transitional period. The livelihood means and ends are emphasized by consolidating local food security measures. The emphasis is laid on developing local small industries.
Their happiness originates from their local context, not externally dished out or doled out as aids: for instance, music from local leaf fiddle, locally blossoming wild flowers,  and pushing Nongu vandi (a rolling structure made of a pair of the raw fruits of Palmyra by hooking them with a stick across and pushing them with the help of another long stick with the split end (bi-parted). The Local rice kanji (rice with coconut milk spiced with onions and chilly and so on) makes the members of the family together and their eating and sharing symbolizes unity for re-establishing livelihoods - happiness through locally made commodities and industries- showing satisfaction. It is the rediscovery of happiness and freedom in a simple original way.
The barbed wire fence intimidates women security, community security and human security at large. The child standing on the abandoned empty ammunition tin box, respecting the parents killed or who died may remind the bitter truth of the people’s psychological resistance of violent war and military control. It may further shows that the younger ones should consider their rebirth from the consequences and loss of war as steps for socio economic, educational and political changes. Picking up and looking on the broken piece of the mirror gives hope for restoring the ethnic and cultural identity. The injury and the scars must remind the Tamils for speedy recovery from the negative feeling of the social, political and psychological defeat due to the war.
The elder brother deprived of one of his legs stands for the idea and action of responsibility for restoring whatever is lost, evolved from the pain experienced in the war or as a victim of the consequences of the war. His buying note books implies educational revival and now the brother does think of liberation from a fresh point of view - liberation by education. The scene of cleaning the house premises from litter insists eliminating the evils of the war.
On the whole, the film tries to give hope and confidence to the war affected Tamils in re-establishing their dignity, their economy, their culture, their livelihood, their political rights and their freedom from military control. It is the binary projection of the post war situation of traumatization versus rehabilitation, responsibility versus irresponsibility, experience versus expectation, education versus entertainment. Further it exposes the construction of a binary in the life style of the younger generation- iphones, alcohol, and idling versus family and social responsibility; how a post war younger generation should be and should not be in a context where grand parents and grandchildren mostly live and parents and youth were mostly dead. The old woman, the grandma symbolizing old age and weakness with the disabled youth and children shows this reality of human existence and human absurdity.

The writer cum photographer cum director, Mr. A. Nishanthan has done a good job. The music is appropriate. The film does not have any dialogue. The director, A. Nishanthan has reached up another step in directing Tamil short films. The film is available for view at the Oblates Society for Social services (Annai Illam), No: 87, Kanahambihaikulam, Kilinochchi.   

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A Corpus Analysis of the Prepositions used in Letter Writing in English. Research Chronicler

·            Gnanaseelan, J. (March, 2014). A Corpus Analysis of the Prepositions used in Letter Writing in English.  Research Chronicler. A Peer-Reviewed Refereed and Indexed International Multidisciplinary Research Journal.  Vol.II. Issue III. Full Paper publication.  South Eastern University of Sri Lanka. ISSN 2347-503X. pp.1-15. Available at http://www.research-chronicler.com/pdf/v3/2301.pdf  


A Corpus Analysis of the Prepositions used in Letter Writing in English


Abstract

The corpus analysis of the prepositions used and the errors committed in business letter writing in English reveals the linguistic and non-linguistic implications in both teaching and learning in the South Asian countries like Sri Lanka. This is a case study of the texts produced by the students of different language communities of Vavuniya Campus of the University of Jaffna in Sri Lanka. The study classifies the types and trends of the use and identifies the errors and their types, and analyzes their implications in the linguistic and discourse structures of the genre in relation to the mental schema acquired in the past. The written texts were collected from a systematic examination. The qualitative analysis dominates the methodology with some relevant quantitative data. The findings distinguish the errors typical of Sri Lankan as well as the students of other countries where English as a second language is used. The types such as prepositional phrase as subject, the confusion between preposition and conjunction, the use of double prepositions, the malformation of prepositional phrase, the use of wrong preposition (replacement), the absence of preposition (deletion), and unnecessary prepositional use (insertion) are discussed in this paper. It contributes to the identification and explanation of the patterns and trends of the use of prepositions and of the errors the students generally make.    
Key words: preposition, error analysis, sequence, absence, addition  

1. Introduction
Generally it is observed that the ESL users or learners do not master the use of prepositions in English. The use of preposition shows the relationship between a noun or its equivalent and other words in a sentence. They reflect practical link between items in real life situation or use in terms of time, place and linguistic function (Dirven, 73-97). It is said that a preposition is a function word that combines with a noun or pronoun to form a prepositional phrase that can have an adverbial or adjectival relation to some other word. They convey syntactic and semantic functions (Bruce, 18). To a greater extent, the poor use of prepositions affects the teaching and learning of subjects taught in English medium. They somewhat impede comprehension and understanding in produced written texts. The use of prepositions or teaching and learning them has been a serious challenge and poses many difficulties for the learners of English as a second foreign language or even the members of English as a native language (South, 42 & 43). Prepositions are significant structural elements and they are essential discourse devices in producing written texts (Carmen, 1133-0392).
2. The Need of the Study
The learners and users of English as a second language in Sri Lanka, like others in the non-native English speaking countries struggle to master the use of prepositions in English writing or in business English writing. Sri Lankans realize the need for being proficient in their use in their intra-national and international business communication and all the universities in Sri Lanka conduct English for Business Communication and Business English as a credit course, integral to their Degree programme. Business letter writing is one of the key genres in training their business English writing skills. Therefore, a proper understanding of the language structure of business English is necessary, especially of the use of prepositions because the natives of Sri Lanka speak Sinhala and Tamil which do not have this grammatical system of preposition. Therefore the deviation in their English discourse is very significant in relation to the use of prepositions. Their Languages have case systems in their grammatical structure to fulfill the communicative functions of the prepositions in English.    
Analytical work on the use of prepositions needs methods for detecting and correcting context dependent mistakes. After the theoretical constructs developed by Pit Corder (p. 224-254; 256-294) on Contrastive and Error Analysis for improving learning and Teaching English as a second Language in his internationally recognized book on Introducing Applied Linguistics, the ESL scholars have taken an interesting turn on this approach over the last two decades, and have focused on identifying and correcting mistakes made by non-native speakers of English to find out general patterns and systems in deviations as part of their interlanguage process (Selinker, 10: 209-241). Non-native writers make a variety of errors in grammar and word usage.
3. Theoretical Background
Syntactically the function words of relation are positioned in front of nouns or pronouns in English so they are called prepositions. There are two types of prepositions—simple prepositions and compound prepositions but in Tamil and Sinhala, they are positioned at the end of nouns or pronouns and are called postposition. Once they are positioned thus, they become prepositional phrases which can be located with or within many types of other phrases and clauses as embedded forms. Preposition and postposition can be placed based on ‘time’, ‘place’, ‘direction’, ‘movement’, ‘attachment or detachment’, ‘possession or dispossession’ and ‘context’. In different contexts, different prepositions may create different meanings causing meaning confusion. As quoted by Ali Abu Humeid (98-114), compound preposition consists of more than one word and behaves just like a single preposition and prepositional phrase consists of the preposition and the prepositional complement, usually a noun phrase (Chalker, 214). Stageberg (169) states that prepositions are “words like of, in and to which are usually followed by a noun, noun phrase, personal pronoun, or noun-substitute called the object of the preposition. The unit of preposition-plus-object of preposition is called a prepositional phrase.” There are two-word sequence and three-word sequence prepositions available in the English language (Quirk et al.,  669).
The difficulties and challenges could be due to their functions with rule breaking tendencies, (Jafarpour and Koosha, 49, 1-30) the differences between English and the native language of the learners and the consequent transfer, comparatively large number of English prepositions (about 124) (Celce-Murcia and Larsen-Freeman, 1983); the complexity of the preposition system in English – no one to one relationship between the form and function; Different prepositions with different derivatives of the same word (Kharma and Hajjaj, 331-345), seldom stressed nature leading to poor hearing and the differences between British English and American English (Hendricks, 24-29). According to Cuyckens and Radden (237-260), prepositions and adverb particles in English Language demonstrate varied meanings in which some of them are very challenging and need high cognitive and mental work from language users’ part.
4. Methodology
The methodology is qualitative and quantitative. It is a textual analytical approach under applied linguistics. It analyzes a business letter writing exercise in English by the second year students of the BBM programme of the Faculty of Business Studies of the Vavuniya Campus.
During a Business English test, as a part of the test, the students were asked to write “a letter of complaint to the Branch Manager of the Ceylon Electricity Board of their district regarding power cuts. As a customer and consumer of electricity power supply in their respective area, over the last three months, they have experienced severe, unscheduled, sudden and prolonged power cuts which have caused immense difficulties in managing day to day life in the area”.
The texts from 84 students were collected in the corpus which had been written in an examination. They were referred for authentic structural, textual and linguistic relations and errors on the specified issues. An error analysis with both structural and functional analyses of the use of prepositions in the discourse of business letters was conducted. The psychological, social, discourse constructions and dimensions and were traced behind the linguistic dimensions of the use of prepositions.    
5. Analysis and Findings
5.1. Preposition in the Discourse of a Letter of Complaint
Table 1 illustrates the quantity of the prepositions used by the percentage of the students. Surprisingly the preposition, in, was used generously by all the students in their letter of complaint on power cut. They used this preposition to denote place predominantly, for example, in this area, in the area, in my area, in our area, in our district area, etc., at the secondary level, to denote time: in the mid night, in the morning time, in recent year and finally to denote manner: in a proper way, in the wrong way, in order etc.
Table 1.The percentage of students using the prepositions in the Letter of Complaint
1-10%
11-25%
26-50%
51-75%
76-100%
above
as
about
to
in
According to
at
for


after
Because of
Over (duplicative)


against
by



around
Due to



before
from



during
of



forward
on



Like
Over (creative)



near
regarding



off
with



Out, out of
without



since




still




through




within




Source: Primary data
The preposition, to, was used by around 51-75% of the students. They use it to denote the relationship with persons, place and matter, for example, to me, to my shop, to our problem, etc. The prepositions, about, for, and over, were used by around 26-50% of the students. They related about with problems, difficulties, failure and mistakes in this context; for with persons, objects and activities such as for us, for the computers, for jobs etc. The use of over is just reproduction of the extract of the question given to the students so it cannot be justified however, it reveals their inability to use it in their own creative expressions. The use of in, to, about, for, by, from, with, without, within are comparatively easier for both Tamil and Sinhala students because they have case ending equivalents in their mother tongues and more or less there is one to one relationship in semantic and pragmatic meaning  in many contextual application in English as well as the Sri Lankan languages. The prepositions, as, at, because of, by, due to, from, of on, over, regarding, with, and without were used by 11-25% of the students. Compared to the first three categories, this group of prepositions poses challenges to the students as they have different functional uses in different contexts. The last but the least used prepositions include above, according to, after, against, around, before, during, forward, like, near, off, out, out of, since, still, through, and within which were used by less than 10% of the students. However, the quantity of the use is determined by the theme of the letter.
Further, prepositions are used mostly in the adverbial phrases and clauses. In average, for example, if a sample letter of student No 18 is surveyed, there are 22 phrases and 110 words. Within the phrases, there were noun, adjectival, and adverbial phrases. Out of 22 phrases in the letter, 10 phrases (around 45%) are prepositional phrases. The prepositional phrases used within these phrases are given in Table 2.
Table2. The prepositional phrases used in the discourse structure of the letter of complaint of Student Number18

Discourse structure
In Noun Phrase
In Adjectival or complementary Phrase
In Adverbial Phrase
Heading
1.The letter about the power cut


Paragraph1:  Introductory

1.Many problem(s) by this power cut
1.In Amapara
2. For the last three months
3. in our area
Paragraph 2: Problem
2.A lot of child(ren)
2.Very important facility for us

Paragraph 3: Consequence
3.The number of people (public)


Paragraph 4: Solution

3.The immediate action for this problem
4.The decision about this problem

Source: Primary Data
Mostly they are used as adjectival or complementary and adverbial phrases and the students find it easier, compared to their positions within other phrase structures like noun phrase or verb phrase as particles. They write the noun phrases with less or no prepositions, for example, the power cut problem (not the problem of power cut), the electricity power supply (not the supply of electricity or of electric power), school children education work (not the education work of school children), our area most people (not most people of our area). Further, only four compound prepositions have been used: according to, out of, because of and due to. Further, it is not surprising to observe that no student has used verb particle (the additional functions of prepositions when they join with verbs, for example, come up etc.) in their writing. It shows that Sri Lankan students are still reluctant or ignorant to use two or three word sequence prepositions or phrasal verbs (verb + particle) comfortably in their creative writing.   
Table 3 The Performance in the texts of the seven students in the campus
(Total: the total marks of the complete test (3 hours testing all the four skills plus grammar); the letter: the marks given for the letter out of 10 marks; NP: the number of Noun Phrases; PP: the number of the prepositional Phrases; words: the number of words in the letter; Errors in the PP: the number of errors in the prepositional Phrases used; Av: the average)  Source: Primary Data
Table 3 shows a case study of the texts of 7 students. There is uniformity between the increase of marks in both the total test and the essay and that of the number of words used. There is balance in using prepositional phrases in par with noun phrases (around 10-15 in number).Another interesting trend is that both the lowest (02) and the highest (01or 00) performers commit less number of errors compared with that of the medium level performers. The reason for the former (the lowest) is that they wrote less and scored less that means, their contribution was quantitatively and qualitatively very less and poor. They made mistakes in all types of error including prepositional even within the small quantity of words they used. Another notable result is that the dominant type of error is replacement or wrong selection.       
The overall findings reveal that the students committed errors in the use of prepositions which are not very much different from the errors made by the students of English as a Second Language in many countries. The error types such as prepositional phrase as subject, confusion between preposition and conjunction, the use of double prepositions, malformation of prepositional phrase, the use of wrong preposition (replacement), absence of preposition (deletion), unnecessary prepositional use (insertion), and full stops after a prepositional phrase title are some of the examples discussed in this paper. Table 4 gives a comparison of the three types of errors in the use of preposition between Sri Lankan Tamil and Sinhala students and those of the languages of other countries.         
Table 4: Distribution of preposition mistakes by error type and countries of the writers
Countries
Replacement
Insertion
Deletion
Sri Lankan
32%
51%
39%
Bulgarian
58%
22%
11%
Chinese
52%
24%
22%
Czech
51%
21%
24%
Russian
53%
21%
17%
Source: Rosovskaya and D. Roth. (2011). the statistics of Tamil and Sinhala belong to the primary data of this paper.
Compared to other language speakers, Speakers of Sri Lankan languages fare well in using the correct prepositions because the percentage of error is only 32% but it is above 50% among other language speakers. On the other hand, it is reversed in the error type of insertion. However, the former comprises 39% while the latter reaching less than 24% in the error type of deletion. This statistics reveal that the Sri Lankan students make more insertion and deletion errors than replacement error. The Sri Lankan students are, still significantly ignorant, and are in the developmental stage in properly identifying the places between the words and phrases where prepositions can be used or cannot be used but when they have identified the positions, they use the prepositions with considerable level of appropriateness. One of the reasons is that the unnecessary additions or insertion and deletion of preposition occur due to the L1 influence, Tamil and Sinhala, in which case endings or suffixes are used with the object or subject of the sentences instead of prepositions.        
5.2. Analysis of Deviation in Discourse

The deviations in the use of prepositions have been listed below. There are nine types identified. The codes have been assigned for each error type for the analysis. The number code given within the brackets at the end of each extracted sentence refers the student who made the deviation.
Prepositional phrase As Subject                                                
e.g. In our area always has power cut so we unable to plan our work (1)  
Less commonly, the Subject may be realized by a prepositional phrase, for example, After dinner is a good time to talk. It is an inverted subject verb adverb or complement structure. The prepositional phrase has been fronted: Among the students selected to follow the course are a blind student and a deaf student.A blind student and a deaf student are among the students selected to follow the course. Prepositional phrases as Subject typically refer to time or to space (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/internet-grammar/function/subjpp.htm). A prepositional phrase may be positioned as a 'sort of' subject by pulling it to the beginning. However, the resulting sentences are 'pretty lame'.  Not all grammarians will likely agree that these phrases are true subjects, since the sentences can be analyzed as something like cleft transformations of an underlying sentence with a different 'true' subject.
There can be a deep level difference apart from its surface level appearance. Though there are examples with a prepositional phrase occupying the position of a surface subject, a prepositional phrase cannot ever be a subject. To become a subject it would have to relinquish its true predicative function and become a referring expression.
The student expression reveals the result of his/her interlanuage learning process. Psycholinguistically, one deep level structure resulted into two surface level structures: (1) power cut is always in our area so we are unable to plan our work and (2) our area always has power cut so we unable to plan our work. The common semantic rules of L1 and L2 might have led to common deep syntactic structure of L1 and L2. However, the student might have confused the transformation rules of L1 and L2 and produced this sentence. Further, both Sinhala and Tamil spoken languages, there is a trend to topicalize and foreground the adverbial expression of time and place. However, the spoken form needs a coma in the written form: In our area, we always have/experience power cut so we are unable to plan our work. The student wants to assert or emphasize ‘in our area’ compared to other areas.
Preposition and Conjunction Confusion
e.g.:   S1: I am unable to inform you Because of our area power is always fluctuation and cuts in last three months. (1)
                       S2: This area children to elders face most of the problem because the power cut. (2)
           S3: It is very big problem all of us and it is influenced our day to day life because of our most of activities are engaged with Electricity power. (3)
S4: We face the difficulties Over the last three months because of we have experienced severe, unscheduled, sudden and prolonged power cuts in our Mawenalle area. (4)

Words that are sometimes conjunctions can act as prepositions. The subordinating conjunctions BECAUSE, BEFORE, AFTER and UNTIL can act as prepositions when they are followed by objects rather than dependent clauses. A clause has a subject and a verb. A prepositional phrase does not, for example, Charlie will wait here until we finish the test. Because’ and ‘because of’ are both used to introduce reasons. The expression, Because is a conjunction, and is followed by a subject and verb and because of is a preposition, and is followed by a noun phrase or verb-ing. Some prepositions also function as subordinate conjunctions. ‘Because of’ needs an object not a subordinating clause so the first sentence is wrong. In the second sentence, in the expression, because the power cut, it must be ‘because of ‘ as it is explained above. S3 and 4 reflect the same error type.
English differs in the use of its forms for the communicative functions of preposition from Tamil and Sinhala. Prepositions can occur in isolation but in Tamil and Sinhala, case replaces preposition for this particular function. Case is a grammatical category whose value reflects the grammatical function performed by a noun or pronoun in a phrase, clause, or sentence. In some languages, nouns, pronouns and their modifiers take different inflected forms depending on what case they are in. English has largely lost its case system, although case distinctions can still be seen with the personal pronouns (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammatical_case). Sinhala distinguishes several cases. Next to the cross-linguistically rather common  nominative, accusative, genitive, dative and ablative, there are also less common cases like the instrumental (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinhala_language#Cases). Case cannot occur in isolation. Therefore the student might have been in ignorance of the grammatical distinction between ‘because’ and ‘because of’.  
Double Preposition
                        
e.g.: S1: I’m writing to you regarding about power cuts (1)
        S2: They face many difficult situation such as children education, for in cooking, in cloth ironing, in watching TV and etc. (2)
        S3: Therefore, children and office workers also go to work very late. as like that the power was cut at 12’clock, 4’clock and then evening from 7’clock to 10’clock. Therefore children face most difficult. (3)

It is a nonstandard construction. There are actually two incorrect ways to double prepositions. The first involves using two consecutive prepositions when only one is necessary. Examples are off of and off to. Instead of saying Pens roll off of the desk, simply say, Pens roll off the desk. The second incorrect doubling involves using a preposition within the sentence and again at the end. Here is an example: It was a mystery of which he knew nothing about. Eliminating either one of the prepositions - "of" or "about" - corrects the sentence: It was a mystery of which he knew nothing, or It was a mystery which he knew nothing about. In S1, the writer has used regarding about in which both means the same function here. The writer might have thought to reinforce the idea or simply made the error of repetition. In S2 also, the same can be explained. Both the prepositions, for and in, have the same function here.
Like is a preposition, which means that it can come before a noun but it should not come before a whole clause containing a verb. As is a conjunction, and it can be used before a clause containing a verb. For example, As I told you, the car was parked behind a tree. We could take a trip to the coast, just like old times. In sentence 3, ‘as like’ combination is used for listing the power cut times. Here the writer might have overlaid the two structures, as the power was cut at and like (many times consecutively) at 12’clock, 4’clock and then evening from 7’clock to 10’clock. The student might have used the semantic interpretation of like (similar in these times) of Tamil language in the use of English preposition.
Malformation of Prepositional Phrase
                        
  e.g.: S1: please don’t cut electricity without unscheduling. (1)
          S2: For cuts the electricity power (as a subject heading of the letter) (2)
S3: In the recent, we have to face severe, unscheduled, sudden and prolonged power cuts. (54)
        S4: They are cutting the power in unscheduled, sudden and prolonged (33)
        S5: I hope you will make good arrangement for solve this problem (66)

When the prepositions in, at, with, of, for, about and so on are used before a verb, the verb must use -ing. In S1, the writer has used a negated –ing form instead of using without pre-scheduling. This is simply a matter of overgeneralization in the interlanguage learning process. In S2, instead of an ing form, the plural noun form or third person singular verb form ‘cuts’ has been used. In S5, a root verb has been used with the preposition.                  
In S3 and S4, the students have avoided using a noun after the pre-modifier consisting an adjective preceded by an article or not: the recent (times, years, months), in unscheduled, sudden and prolonged. A noun should occur with an adjective modifier to have a preposition to be used with the noun phrase to use it as a sentence adverb, for example, In the recent years, the influence of internet on students has grown rapidly in our campus. The reason for this can be attributed to its Tamil equivalent for, ‘anmaiyil’ [in (the) recent (time)] but it is a noun with the temporal case in Tamil, ‘il’, not an adjective. At the same time, it is possible to have the article, the, with an adjective to form a noun in the English language but this particular expression, ‘the recent’ in isolation is rarely used. Further, using a preposition of time in front of this expression is not in practice. 
The Use of Wrong Preposition

                e.g.:                                                                                            S1: Before three month since now to every day power out. (26)
S2: I am writing to complained for you unscheduled, sudden and prolonged power cuts in our area. (35)
S3: The industries and household works also cannot be done by the power cuts. (41)
S4: Regarding Power Cut of my area. (56)
S5: I think if you scheduled this power cuts and informed that for us we can face this problem better than past. (67)
S6: The educational people affect to the power cut. (78)
S7; According to the above address area, we are facing lot of unconvenience everyday. (81)
S8: So I kindly request for your attention for this problems, and I hope you will get suitable solution for these problems. (82)
                       S9: Please kindly listen over problem. (26)
                       S10: The school children, teachers, government works, farm workers, university student and etc severity impact on this problem. (71)

Around 32% of the students committed this type of errors. One acceptable form of S1 is ‘For the last three months (till now), (there has been) power cut every day.’ Again it shows the mother tongue interference. There is a temporal case expression in Tamil, ‘munpirinthu’ which means a combined semantic notion ‘from before’.  The singular form, month  is used because in Tamil grammatical use, a singular noun is expected in this grammatical-semantic context. This L1 knowledge might have influenced the student to form, before three month(s). The binary of since and till is misunderstood. An addition of ‘to’ with every day is redundant.
In S2, ‘complain for you’ is incorrect if it really means ‘complain to you’ but it seems that the student might have missed the possessive pronoun form, your, after the expression, complain for. In S5 too, it is informed that to us, not, informed that for us. The Sri Lankan students often continue to use the pair of prepositions, for/to and in/on inappropriately.  The reason can be easily attributed to the impossibility of generalizing the rules and regulations prevailing in the use of English prepositions in general and this irregularity and context based use prevent many learners and users of English as a second or foreign language from properly understanding as well as applying them appropriately in different contexts. In S8 also, the acceptable form is I kindly request your attention to these problems. If it the word request is a noun, then the request for the attention is acceptable. In the same way, in S9, it is ‘listen to the problem.
In S3, it is due to the power cuts, not ‘by the power cuts. The reason may be attributed to the interlanguage, the result of the language learning process. The students are given examples or exercises or are always exposed to passive sentences with the agents denoted by the preposition, by.  Very rarely they are exposed to or given explanation to the passive construction where the agents are omitted so there is no need for the preposition, by. Here the student uses a passive construction so naturally he/she identifies an agent with the preposition, by but interestingly the direct agent of the action, cannot be done is confused with the indirect cause, power cuts. It is the industrialists and household people who are the real agents who can not do (the more appropriate form is are not able to do) the industrial and household works. In S6, a similar deviation has been committed but in a different form. The acceptable form can be the educated people are affected by the power cut. This student did not use the preposition, by, because s/he could write this sentence in passive construction. In S10, the standard form is ….are severely affected by this problem but the student has used the popular expression, impact on in this context wrongly. The use of active voice further creates confusion as if the affected people have an impact on the problem but it is the problem which has an impact on the professional life of these people. The use of the expression, impact on’ is very familiar in their academic reading and writing and speaking and listening in relation to management discipline so they often overuse this expression.
Further the mother tongue interference may be another reason. The students, due to the unavailability of prepositions in their mother tongues, prefer to understand each expression with a direct Tamil equivalent available in its case system, dative case ‘ku’ with the English preposition, ‘to’; ablative case, irunthu  with the English preposition, ‘from’; the genitive case, ‘udaiya’ with the English preposition, ‘of’; the locative and temporal cases ‘il’ with the English preposition, ‘in’ and finally the instrumental case, ‘aal’ with the English preposition, ‘by’. However, this case expression in Tamil can communicate the meaning of the function of the preposition, due to and also, the position in the sentence moves to the front: Due to the power cuts, the industrial and household works cannot be done
In S4, there is a confusion of the use of the preposition ‘of’ from the use of the preposition, ‘in’ in this context. The situation of power cuts caused by external agents and moved in the area; the situation of power cuts is not the part and parcel of or originated from the area so the standard form is power cuts in the area. It seems that the students are still ignorant about the distinct semantic and pragmatic functional meanings in the use of these two prepositions acceptable in the language.
In S7, the student uses, according to, instead of the preposition, in. This can be resulted due to their exposure to letter writing in English which embody expressions starting with ‘according to’ in business letter writing so this is due to their over-familiarity with the preposition, according to.  
The Absence of Preposition                                                        

e.g.:S1: Further this caused, occurred (during) our exam. (01)
S2:  (In) some areas they supply electricity by using informal scheduled. (13)
S3: I am writing this letter one important matter to discuss (with) you. (29)
S4: It is very big Problem (for) all of us. (46)
S5: (In) above the heading I mention to tell you we are living in the Beruwala, muruga nagar. (57)
S6: Students want to participate (in) A/L examination after three month. (61)
S7: (In) Our area most people have electric Grinder company and also Garment company. (73)
S8: This area people (are) affected (by) the power cut. (78)

Around 39% of the students committed this type of errors. The omitted prepositions in each sentence are given in bold letters within the brackets. Again, this type of deviation, absence of preposition, can be attributed, in general, to the unfamiliarity and unavailability of the system of prepositional use in their L1 systems and the consequent result of their interlanguage in the second language learning process. Some omissions could have happened due to indifference and carelessness as well. 
Unnecessary Prepositional Use
                       
e.g.:   S1: It is affected by in our day to day works. (36)
          S2: Before one month I send to your letter about this matter. (46)
          S3: Regularly power affect in our education. (55)
          S4: If you want to disconnected electricity please will inform to your consumers. (63)
          S5: Please help to the area people. (78)
          S6: Therefore most important electricity but power cut of electricity because I can’t reach to target for shipment. (84)
          S7: some of the persons do some activities in wrongly. (38)
          S8: we can’t do our business work and school children education work in properly. (35)  
          S9: we all are expect the proper or sharp electrical power to do our casual work in orderly.

Around 51% of the students made this type of errors. In these sentences, the students have unnecessarily added or used prepositions to the positions where they should be absent. In S1, the mental schema of the passive construction and adding preposition in front of popular expressions like day to day life/works causes the insertion of by in in the sentence. The acceptable form is it affects our day to day works. Similarly, in S3, it is regularly, power cuts affect our education. Further students use ‘in our education’ assuming that the verb, ‘affect’ gives the idea of ‘make or cause problems’. Thus the students assume a combination of two syntactic and semantic expressions— verb +object— in a single verb. Therefore they use a prepositional phrase like in our education’ as adverb or the modifier of object or complement. In S2, there is a confusion about the forms of object pronoun and possessive pronoun of the common second person pronoun, you. Further the students are very much familiar with ‘your letter’ expression. The acceptable form is before one month, I sent you a letter about this matter. Generally when an object pronoun is positioned as an indirect object immediately after a transitive verb in the sentence pattern, SVOO, it does not accept a preposition. The students are confused between this pattern with the SVOO pattern which has the indirect object pronoun as the object of preposition, for example, before one month, I sent a letter to you about this matter. Further, in S4,S5, and S6, the unnecessary additions of preposition occur due to our L1 influence because in Tamil and Sinhala, case endings or suffixes are used with the object of the sentences: for example, in Tamil, dative case (-ikku) is used with your consumers and the area people and accusative case (-ai)is used with the target.
S7,8 and 9 occur due to the confusion of two adverbial forms students generally use: one is single worded: wrongly, properly and orderly; the other is phrase: in the wrong way, in a proper way, and double worded: in order. The students use these two forms so freely that both forms get mixed up like in wrongly, in properly and in orderly.   
Full stops after a Prepositional Phrase Title
                       
e.g.:T1: Regarding the Electricity power supply in Kilinochchi area. (52)
      T2: Regarding the electricity Power Supply in our area. (48)   

T1 and T2 show the poor understanding of the students regarding the punctuation use with the phrases or titles of the texts. Normally sentences are punctuated with full stops but students over generalize and use the full stop at the end of the single or isolated phrases used as titles of body text or listed as points.
6. Conclusion
The majority of Sri Lankan university students experience serious challenges in producing and recognizing prepositions as the total number of their correct responses significantly insufficient. In addition, most of them do not recognize the position of prepositions because they perceive that each preposition following or preceding any word or phrase understood and applied on a one-to one basis of functional meaning they assign in relation to respective case-ending in their mother tongue. Furthermore, most of them fail to acquire prepositions correctly. The majority of textbook writers and syllabus designers do not give the functional meanings of prepositions when they are used within the reading passages and listening sessions. Therefore many students are confused in the distinct and non-distinct uses of the preposition triad— (1) in, on, and at, (2) to, for and of, (3) by, with and as (4) since, till and from. A substantial recommendation can be that the Sri Lankan school text book and syllabus designers should incorporate a comparison of the functional use of respective preposition in relation to case ending in Tamil and Sinhala because they do not know various meanings and functions of each single word or compound preposition.
The findings of this paper further reinforce the following factors attributed to the students’ errors as identified by Ali Abu Humeid (98-114): (i) interlingual transfer, the use of Tamil or Sinhala literal meaning separately for each preposition rather than giving the meaning for them as a whole phrase or clause, (ii) intralingual transfer, the use of the prior knowledge of the L2, and interlangauge production during the second language learning process  (iii) context of Learning, poor or no explanation of prepositions in terms of communicative competence and function by textbook writers and instructors, and (iv) communication strategies, the selection of idiosyncratic or idiolectal expressions to fill the gap of their knowledge in English, in which they intentionally or unintentionally use or do not use prepositions.
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