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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