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Title: The L2 acquisition of English articles by L1 speakers of Saudi Arabic
Author: Almahboob, Ibrahim
ISNI:       0000 0004 2677 2164
Awarding Body: The University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2009
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The English article system has long been one of the difficult elements of the English language to learn and to teach. Previous studies on this topic by Huebner (1985), Parrish (1987), Master (1987), and Thomas (1989) among others, have investigated this topic in light of the Bickerton's feature distinction of [± Specific Referent; ± Hearer Knowledge]. However, this feature distinction falls short of accounting for a number of finer semantic distinctions. In recent work by Ionin (2003a), Ionin et al. (2004), and Hawkins et al. (2006) among others, the feature distinction [±specific; ±definite] was used. In the studies by Ionin it was proposed that speakers of an articleless LI learning an L2 that has a two articles system would fluctuate between the two values of an Article Choice Parameter (ACP). The first value having a definiteness setting, and the second value having a specificity setting. In their study they left open the question of how Ll speakers of a language with articles learning an L2 with articles would interact with the ACP. Hawkins et al. (2006) answered this question and found that their L2 subjects with articleless LIs fluctuated between the settings of the ACP similar to Ionin's subjects; however the L2 subjects who had an L 1 with articles did not fluctuate. The present work is considered an extension to the work by Ionin et al. (2004) and Hawkins et al. (2006) in that it investigated how Ll Arabic speakers learning L2 English interacted with the ACP parameter in light of the fact that Ll Arabic has an overt definite marker al-, and an unarguably vague marker of indefiniteness. The present study considered the responses of the Ll Arabic speakers learning L2 English in a number of different contexts (definite vs. indefinite; specific vs. non-specific; no-scope vs. narrow scope; generic vs. nongeneric). Tow tasks were used to gather language samples. The first was a forced choice elicitation task and the second was a written production task. The results of the forced choice elicitation task showed that the L 1 Arabic speakers learning L2 English transferred the properties of Ll definite al- to L2 English in all definite contexts, thus supporting the findings in Hawkins et al. (2006). In addition it was found that the L 1 Arabic speakers learning L2 English fluctuated between the settings of the ACP in specific indefinite contexts. It is argued that findings in this work are consistent with the Full Transfer/Full Access (FT/FA) hypothesis of Schwartz and Sprouse (1994; 1996).
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available