For many years, English has been the most important foreign language in Indonesia, Which is taught from elementary school to university. However, in senior high school, English is taught as main subject in which the government has changed the curriculum into Curriculum Based on Competence 2004. According to Departemen Pendidikan Nasional (2003: 36).
“The competence-basing language curriculum is a systematic draft and strategy which build the communicative competence or the competence of contextual. It means that it builds all the basis of competences themselves. They are like linguistics competences, social culture and strategies to make the benefit context.”
From the statement above, it is clear that Curriculum Based on competence 2004 tries to develop and achieve the communicative competence or discourse competence and has perspective that is comprehensive to the discourse. The learners must be able to master the four skills, they are: listening, speaking, reading, and writing, also English components such as: grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, etc.
Among the four skills above, writing is the most difficult one. Because it requires demonstrating the control of a number of variables simultaneously; they are control of content, format, sentence structure, vocabulary, punctuation spelling, etc. Nunan (1989: 35) points out, “It has been argued that that learning to write fluently and expressively is the most difficult of the macro skills for all language users regardless of whether the language in question is first, second, or foreign language.” Another opinion comes from Heaton (1989: 138). He explain that the writing skills are complex and sometimes difficult to teach, requiring mastery not only of grammatical and rhetorical devices but also of conceptual and judgment elements. It means that ability to write needs a special skill and process in organizing language material by using learners’ own words and ideas and to be a good composition.
According to the results of the research done by the students of IKIP Budi Utomo Malang show that in learning English, most of the students find difficulties, especially in applying grammar in their speaking and writing. So, they will make mistakes and errors. It describes that learners’ ability in English is still poor and they need to be taught more effectively.
The learners often make mistakes and even errors in learning English, especially when they try to arrange sentences or use tenses in their writing. As a result, they will write sentences ungrammatically. Actually, ungrammatical sentences have great influence when the learners are writing sentences. That can be influenced by the first language which is different from the second language in written form. Therefore, the first language can interfere learners in the process of the second language. Abbort (1981: 216) wrote,
“For pedagogic purposes, teachers and others more likely to be concerned with the performances of whole groups and especially with the problems they have in commons. For these purposes, we need to ensure that the data comes from fairly homogeneous groups as regards mother tongue, age, previous teaching, and if possible, intelligence. Perhaps the most important of these factors is the mother tongue, particularly if phonological errors arte being studied
From the statement above, it can be seen that errors in learning a second language are caused by the interference of the learners’ mother tongue. In other words, errors made by the learners sometimes are caused by use of the first language.
Making Errors are a natural and unavoidable part of the process of learning English. Many kinds of errors arise when the learners write because they do not master the English structure well. Also, errors are the inability of the students in using rules of the components and elements of the second language. Brown (1987: 170) Said that ”second language learning is a process that is clearly not unlike first language learning in its trial and errors nature”. It means that the learners cannot avoid errors in learning second language. That statement is supported by Wiganti (2000: 11)
“Many linguist and researcher have found out that learners’ errors may account the process of learning a target language, in other words, making errors is considered to be natural to the learners. More extremely, they hypothesize that errors should not be viewed as problems to be overcome, but rather as normal and inevitable features indicating the strategies that learners use.”
So almost all learners must make errors when they are learning English because it is difficult to separate error in the process of learning English.
Students’ errors are very useful ways of showing what they have and have not learnt. Dubin F. and Olshtain E. (1986: 74) reported,: … , today errors are viewed as an integral part of the language-learning process from which we can gain very significant insight.” It tells that errors are important to study in order to understand the process of learning. A study of learners’ errors describes what problems the learners are having now and help the teacher to plan remedial work. In addition, the teacher should not see negatively as a sign of failure but see them positively as an indication of what the teacher still needs to teach. So, if the teacher tries to prevent students; errors, he/she never finds out what they do not know.
There are four standard competences in curriculum based on competences in Curriculum Based on Competence 2004. One of them is writing. In writing students are hoped to be able to express many written meanings that have purposes in communicative, text structure etc. They can develop their writing in the forms of genre (kinds of text) such as: narrative, descriptive, recount, news items, etc as a means of communications.
One of genres is recount. Recount tells something happening in the past time, like: history, journey, autobiography, biography, diary, personal letter, etc. As it tells some events, it usually uses sequence words such as: When, while, after, before, until, etc. Then, tense used in recount text is simple past tense, because it tells past events.
To make a good composition, the students must be able to master and apply the structure correctly, especially about tense used. In this case, the tense used is simple past tense. If they cannot do that, of course, errors will arise. Automatically their writing will cause misunderstanding for the readers, because the readers cannot receive the massage or expression of their idea well. Most of the students still find problems in using it, because of their limited mastery, especially the differences between regular and irregular verb. Therefore the writer wants to analyze the errors made by the students and tries to give solutions to overcome their problems. He chooses the title “An Error Analysis on the Use of Simple Past Tense among the Ninth Year Students of SMPN 3 Pare.”
1.2. Statement of the problems
Based on the background of the study there are problems, which can be formulated after identifying the type errors, omitted among the ninth year students of SMPN 3 Pare
The problem can be stated as follows:
- What analysis is to be described on the use simple past tense among students of the ninth year SMPN 3 Pare?
- What analysis is to be described on the frequency occurrence of the errors made among the students of the ninth year students of SMPN 3 Pare on the use simple past tense?
1.3. Objective of the Study
This study has their objectives relating to the formulation of the problems above. They can be stated as follows:
- To describe what errors, made among the students of the ninth year students of SMPN 3 Pare on the use simple past tense.
- To describe the frequency occurrence of the errors made, among the students of the ninth year students of SMPN 3 Pare on the use simple past tense.
1.4. Limitation of the Study
In this study, the researcher used a test to find the students errors. He gave some material and the students all of them. The researcher only took Indonesian students who were in the ninth year students at SMPN 3 Pare.
The student did not concentrate on all structure/tense problems found in students doing, since the researcher limited his study in the problem of tense especially simple past tense.