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Form-meaning connections in the acquisition of English articles

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JournalEUROSLA Yearbook
DatePublished - 2002
Issue number1
Volume2
Number of pages18
Pages (from-to)115-133
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This paper examines the acquisition of English articles by native speakers of Serbian, a language which has no article system. Data from a translation task, performed by four proficiency groups are presented to demonstrate that, contrary to previous research, learners do not associate articles with either ‘hearer knowledge’ or ‘specificity of referent’ (Huebner 1983, Master 1990, Tarone and Parish 1989, Thomas 1989). Rather, they establish non-target form–meaning connections, where ‘the’ is associated with a discrete referent, and ‘a(n)’ with the individuation of non-discrete referents.

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