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Title: The use of English articles by L2 speakers
Author: Jeon, Yunju
ISNI:       0000 0004 2736 2474
Awarding Body: University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis examines the use of English articles by speakers of languages with no articles (Korean) and speakers of languages with articles (Spanish). Previous proposals concerning omission and substitution in the use of English articles by L2 speakers are critically evaluated, in particular those of Ionin et al (2004, 2008) on article substitution and Trenkic (2007) on article omission. An additional observation is made - that there is an asymmetry in the degree of variability in the use of the and a that has not been dealt with by previous accounts. The implicit assumption that article-less languages do not instantiate the grammatical category of determiner is challenged and it is shown that article-less languages such as Korean do in fact have a determiner phrase, which has an identical structure to that of the determiner phrase of languages with articles such as English and Spanish. Borer's (2005) exo-skeletal model of Universal Grammar is adopted to defend such a position. The notion of range assignment in Borer's model is introduced and is proposed as a source of L1 transfer. A specific proposal is made concerning the nature of this transfer: adult L2 learners fluctuate permanently between the L1 range assignment mechanism and the L2 range assignment mechanism - a phenomenon I term the Permanent Fluctuation Hypothesis. This hypothesis is tested through three experimental tasks - a forced-choice elicitation task, a spontaneous oral production task and a spontaneous written production task. These were completed by Korean and Spanish learners of English at three proficiency levels - upper intermediate, advanced, and very advanced. The data show a similar pattern of substitution and omission as in previous studies. But this pattern is given an alternative explanation from the perspective of Borer's model of grammar and the Permanent Fluctuation Hypothesis. It is shown that the asymmetry between the and a cannot be explained by the proposals of either Ionin et al or of Trenkic, but can only be successfully explained by the account given in this study.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available