Errors are information. In contrastive linguistics, they are thought to be caused by unconscious transfer of mother tongue structures to the system of the target language and give information about both systems. In the interlanguage hypothesis of second language acquisition, errors are indicative of the different intermediate learning levels and are useful pedagogical feedback.
In both cases error analysis is an essential methodological tool for diagnosis and evaluation of the language acquisition process. Errors, too, give information in psychoanalysis (e.g., the Freudian slip), in language universal research, and in other fields of linguistics, such as linguistic change.This bibliography is intended to stimulate study into cross-language, cross-discipline and cross-theoretical, as well as for language universal, use of the numerous, but sometimes hard to come by, error analysis studies. 5398 titles covering the period 1578 up to 1990 (with work in more than 144 languages and language families) are cited, cross-referenced, and described.
The subject areas covered are numerous. For example: Theoretical Linguistics (Linguistic Typology, Cognitive Linguistics), Historical Linguistics (Language Change), Applied Linguistics (e.g. Speech Disorders), Translation, Mother Tongue Acquisition, Foreign Language Learning (Negative Transfer, Intralingual and Interlingual Errors), Psychoanalysis (Slips of the Tongue), Typography, Shorthand, Clinical Linguistics and Speech Pathology, Reading Research, Automatic Error Detection, Contact Linguistics (Code-switching, Interference), etc.