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Abstract

Abstract

This paper examines whether adult learners of English whose native languages (Korean and Mandarin Chinese) lack articles are influenced by transfer from demonstratives and numerals in their acquisition of English articles. To this end, the results of two studies are reported. The first study examines native Korean and Mandarin speakers’ preferences for bare vs. non-bare (demonstrative or numeral) forms in different types of definite and indefinite environments. The results of this study give rise to specific predictions for L1-Korean and L1-Mandarin L2-English learners’ sensitivity to article omission errors in different types of definite and indefinite contexts in English. These predictions are tested in the second study, which uses both an offline task (grammaticality judgments) and an online task (self-paced reading) to investigate learners’ sensitivity to errors of article omission. L1-Korean and L1-Mandarin L2-English learners are found to behave very similarly when tested in English, despite different preferences exhibited by native speakers of Korean and Mandarin.  It is concluded that learners of these article-less first languages do not transfer the semantics of demonstratives and numerals onto articles in their second language.

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2020-05-25
2020-07-07
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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keywords: Mandarin; L1-transfer; definiteness; Korean; articles
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