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Academic Paper


Title: The representation of English articles in second language grammars: Determiners or adjectives?
Author: Danijela Trenkic
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://www.york.ac.uk/education/our-staff/academic/danijela-trenkic/
Institution: University of York
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Linguistic Theories; Psycholinguistics; Syntax
Abstract: An article-choice study involving L1 Mandarin/L2 English bilinguals is reported. It tested two recent accounts on the representation of English articles in L2 grammars (where L1 has no articles). The Fluctuation Hypothesis (Ionin, Ko and Wexler, 2004) predicts that L2 speakers will have full access to UG, but will fluctuate between the settings of the postulated Article Choice Parameter; article choices will be influenced by [±specificity]. The syntactic misanalysis account, on which L2 articles are treated as adjectives (Trenkic, 2007), predicts that article choices will be influenced by the objective identifiability of referents. By discussing the notion of specificity and emphasising problems in its operationalisation, the current study introduces an innovative design to reveal that what was previously observed as the effect of specificity on L2 article choices (full UG access) is better described as an effect of the stated/denied familiarity with the referent (an extra-linguistic factor).

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This article appears IN Bilingualism: Language and Cognition Vol. 11, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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