Students’ Errors In Using Simple Present Tense In Writing Descriptive Texts The Case Of The Eighth Year Students Of Smp N 2 Brebes In The Academic Year Of 2006/2007 (PBING-20)

CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background of the Study
English  is  a  language  spoken  by  people  in  English  speaking  countries  or  in international  eventsamong countries around the world. Ramelan (1992:2-3) stated that “English as an international language is used to communicate, to strengthen and to fasten relationship among all countries in the worldin all fields, for example: in tourism, business,  science  and  technology,  etc.  Considering  the  importance  of English, people from various non-English speakingcountries  including Indonesia learn English.” Having proficiency in English, people will be able to face this over- changing world easily.So, it is not surprising if the numberof people who are interested in learning English is getting increasedfrom time to time.
In Indonesia,  English  has  been  taught  as  a  foreign  language.  Ramelan (1992; 1)  stated that Englishhas been taughtin our country as the first foreign language since the proclamation in Indonesia on the 17th  of August 1945.” It is taught as  a  compulsory subject  in  junior  high  school  and  senior  high  school  and  in universities or institutes for several terms. Even, it has been tried to be taught to the students of some elementary schools.

Many educational experts and the society do many efforts to make the teaching of English better and better. They also consider the urgent role of English in the world’s communication. To keep up with the world’scommunication, Indonesian government has made a significant step in the Englishteaching by renewingthe 1994 curriculum into 2004 Competency-Based Curriculum. This new curriculum enables students to have a better way and materials in studying English.

In the 2004 Competency-Based Curriculum, English teaching in junior high school covers  fourcompetences; they are listening, speaking, reading,and writing. Those basiccompetences are integratedly taught becausethe main goal of teaching English is that studentsare able to develop their communicative skills in both written and spoken English. In addition, the language components   structure, vocabulary, spelling  and  pronunciation   are  not  separately  taught.  They  are  to  support  the development of those basic competences.
The students  are  expected  to  be  able  to  communicate  in  English  using correct structure. Structure or grammar is one of the basiccomponents of language which must be learnt  by  students. It is very useful and important as Raja T. Nasr (1988:52) writes that grammar is a part of any language.Just as there is no language without sounds (at least no live or oral language) so,  there is no languagewithout grammar. Having knowledge of grammar will help people to comprehend what other people say or write. On the other hand, it is difficult for Indonesian studentsto use correct structure in English. This is mostly becausethe students are influenced by their mother tongue on the acquisition of the new structures. Smith and Kellerman (1986:1) called that as a cross linguistic influence because “it is about the interplay between earlier and later acquired languages.”
“It is now established beyond doubt that the first language can have a  constraining  role  in  the  second  language  in  the  production  of learners that  is to say that the perception of differences between first  language  and  second  language  by  learners  may  effectively prevent transfer of first language’s  structures as Kean calls ‘short- sighted transfer’.”(Smith and Kellerman, 1986:2).
From the statement above, we may concludethat one of the Indonesian students’  problems  in  mastering  English  is  that  their  mother  tongue  rules  still influence them in using it.
Since  having  differences  between  their  mother  tongue  from  English languages,  the  students  often  find  problems  with  grammar,  vocabulary,  spelling, pronunciation,  and  the  like.  Nevertheless,  the  students  usually  face  difficulty  in English grammar that is in arranging  words into correct utterances or sentences. It means that grammar is one of the most important partsof English to communicate with others. When we communicate, both in writtenand spoken  ways with other people,  we should  not  only  have  a  good  vocabulary  but  also  correct  grammar. Therefore, without grammar,it is hard for people to understand what we say or write because grammar makes a string of words or utterances meaningful.
There are many rules in grammar that cannot be ignored. They are articles, parts of speech, sentence pattern, tense, etc. Part of the grammar that is considered to be most difficultto learn for Indonesian studentsis tenses. Simple present tense is the example. Frank (1972:66) states that  “Simple present tense is used to expressa habitual action with adverbs like usually, always, or often.” The use of simple present tense often makes studentsconfused with its complexity, especially for the eight year students of junior high school.They usually have some problems in findingout the verb form of simple presenttense. They often write “He walk to school everyday,” instead of “He walks to school everyday.”  The third singular personssuch as he, she, and it needsuffix –s or –es for the  verb. It shows that Indonesian studentsdo not consider that in Englishthere are verbsformed in singularor plural. In Indonesian language, singular or plural forms do not affect the verb form.
In this final project, I discuss students’ Englishskill in writingdescriptive text using simple present tense. Writing a descriptive text should be clear, vivid, and concrete. If a student has made a mistake in using simple present tense, it means that he/she is not competent yet in making his/her text. It makes the reader confusedand difficult to understand what the writermeans. Therefore, through descriptive text, I would  like  to find  out  the  students’  learning  problems,  to  know  the  students’ achievement and difficulties in learning the simple present tense. Wishon and Burks (1980:379) stated that “descriptive writing is used to create a visual image of people, places,  even units of time days, times of day or seasons. Hopefully, it will help students in using the simple present tense.
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