a1 University of Wisconsin-Madison
This study presents research on the affective reactions of native French speakers to 15 types of grammatical error made by an American speaking French. The native French judges are divided into three age groups, C.E.S. students, lycée students, and adults, and an error hierarchy is provided for each. Results show a continuum by age as to how these judges react to gender errors, that is errors of non-agreement with definite articles and adjectives with nouns. The younger, C.E.S. students are most sensitive to gender errors, lycée students slightly less sensitive, and adults the least irritated of the three, to the point that, for the adults, the five gender errors are rated as the five least serious errors in the error hierarchy. Possible explanations for this difference in error sensitivity are offered, with special attention to the possible influence of socioeconomic status. These results are compared to findings in English, French, German, and Spanish, with particular focus on results obtained in German by Politzer (1978) and Delisle (1982).