The Semantic Analysis of the Definite Article’ Misuse by Chinese Learners of English

Juanjuan Geng


Based on Bickerton’s (1981) Semantic Wheel Model, the study collected Chinese learners’ performance on an article test, and then made a semantic analysis of the results. The main findings include: 1. The two features of referentiality, namely, whether or not the noun phrase has a specific referent and whether or not it is assumed known to the hearer ([±SR] and [±HK]) have a statistically significant influence on Chinese learners’ article accuracy; [+SR, +HK] and [-SR, -HK] are proved to be the easiest while [-SR, +HK] is the most problematic. 2. Chinese learners tend to associate the definite article with [+HK] contexts rather than [+SR] contexts, for the overuse of the definite article in [+HK] environments is significantly higher than that in [+SR] contexts. Finally, several suggestions on English article instruction are pointed out for teachers in college.

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Asian Social Science   ISSN 1911-2017 (Print)   ISSN 1911-2025 (Online)    Email: 

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