The Acquisition of English Definite Article “the” by Mandarin and Indonesian Speakers
Keywords:English Definite Article, Second Language Acquisition, L1 Transfer
By replicating Feng (2019) with some modifications, this study aimed to identify the acquisition pattern of two kinds of English definiteness, anaphoric and non-anaphoric. Being a language without article system, Mandarin Chinese employed demonstrative determiners to function as definite article and shared the same features as English definite article “the”. In the current study, the participants were 3 L1-Chinese and 3 L1-Indonesian L2-English learners, who engaged in an Acceptability Judgement Task (AJT) and a post-task interview. Align with Feng’s finding, this study revealed that Chinese participants encountered less difficulties than their Indonesian counterparts in the use of ‘the’, as a possible result of L1 transfer; and that Chinese participants underperformed in bridging conditions, indicating the challenge of presupposition at the semantics-pragmatics interface.
han, A. Y. W. (2019). Use and misuse of the English “the”: a case of Hong Kong Cantonese ESL learners. The Journal of Asia TEFL, 16(3), 859–875. http://dx.doi.org/10.18823/asiatefl.2019.16.3.6.859
Chen, P. (2004). Identifiability and definiteness in Chinese. Linguistics, 42(6), 1129–1184. https://doi.org/10.1515/ling.2004.42.6.1129
Cho, J. (2017). The acquisition of different types of definite noun phrases in L2-English. International Journal of Bilingualism, 21(3), 367–382. https://doi.org/10.1177/1367006916629577
Crosthwaite, P. R. (2014). Definite discourse–new reference in L1 and L2: A study of bridging in Mandarin, Korean, and English. Language Learning, 64(3), 456–492. https://doi.org/10.1111/lang.12062
Els Oskaar. (1994). On definiteness: a study with special reference to English and Finnish Andrew Chesterman. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 16(1), 116. https://doi.org/ doi:10.1017/S0272263100012766
Feng, S. (2019). The acquisition of English definite noun phrases by mandarin Chinese speakers. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 41(4), 881–896. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0272263118000323
Heejeong Ko, Tania Ionin, & Ken Wexler. (2010). The role of presuppositionality in the second language acquisition of English articles. Linguistic Inquiry, 41(2), 213. www.jstor.org/stable/40606838
Ionin, T., & Montrul, S. (2010). The role of l1 transfer in the interpretation of articles with definite plurals in l2 English. Language Learning: A Journal of Research in Language Studies, 60(4), 877–925. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9922.2010.00577.x
Lardiere, D. (2009). Some thoughts on the contrastive analysis of features in second language acquisition. Second Language Research, 25(2), 173–227. https://doi.org/10.1177/0267658308100283
Lyons, C. (1999). Definiteness. Cambridge University Press.
Schwarz, F. (2013). Two kinds of definites cross-linguistically. Language and Linguistics Compass, 10, 534. https://doi.org/10.1111/lnc3.12048
Zhao, H., & MacWhinney, B. (2018). The instructed learning of form–function mappings in the English article system. The Modern Language Journal, 102(1), 99–119. https://doi.org/10.1111/modl.12449