What is a language error?

A discussion


  • Maria Khachaturyan Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies
  • Maria Kuteeva Stockholm University & Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies
  • Svetlana Vetchinnikova Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies
  • Gunnar Norrman Stockholm University
  • Dmitri Leontjev University of Jyväskylä


language normativity, language processing, language socialisation


Why are we so afraid of making mistakes? Students in language classes, speakers of non-standard varieties, professionals working abroad – we all share the anxiety of dropping the ball. But where does this anxiety come from? Why do we perceive certain linguistic features as errors in the first place? Is there any inherent faultiness in such features, or is a language error arbitrary? And if it is arbitrary, are errors less real? In this discussion, Maria Khachaturyan, Maria Kuteeva and Svetlana Vetchinnikova zoom in on the social life of variation in language and its uneasy relationship with our normative ideas. After that, Gunnar Norrman and Dmitri Leontjev give their comments. The discussion closes with replies by the first three authors.


Conceptual discussion


2022-12-12 — Updated on 2022-12-20


How to Cite

Khachaturyan, M., Kuteeva, M., Vetchinnikova, S., Norrman, G., & Leontjev, D. (2022). What is a language error? A discussion . Apples - Journal of Applied Language Studies, 16(3), 102–127. https://doi.org/10.47862/apples.114746 (Original work published December 12, 2022)