An Empirical Research of Chinese Learners’ Acquisition of the English Article System — Based on Syntactic Misanalysis Account

  •  Shi Jian    


In the field of applied linguistics, the English article is the acknowledged teaching and learning difficulty and receives lots of attention in second language acquisition (SLA). This paper, based on the Syntactic Misanalysis Account (SMA) advocated by Trenkic in which L2 articles are analyzed as adjectives by L2ers, proposes the English article is the functional category with null semantic meaning and its production is syntactic-driven. The English Proficiency Test and the Forced Choice Elicitation Task have been conducted with 41 freshmen, 41 sophomores and 41 juniors of English majors in Xi’an University of Science and Technology (XUST), which finds L2ers from L1 Chinese maybe relate referential meaning of definite to the perceptible referent but the meaning of indefinite to the non-recognizable referent and thus produce substitution errors in their English article choices.

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