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ERIC Number: EJ777319
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Dec
Pages: 32
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0272-2631
Language Transfer and Discourse Universals in Indian English Article Use
Sharma, Devyani
Studies in Second Language Acquisition, v27 n4 p535-566 Dec 2005
Stable nonnative varieties of English acquired and used in the absence of native English input can diverge systematically from native varieties over time (Cheshire, 1991; Kachru, 1983; Platt, Weber, & Ho, 1984). Focusing on Indian English article use, this study asks the following question: If divergence is indeed occurring, do new features derive primarily from first language (L1) transfer or from universal principles? Natural conversational speech is assessed in relation to four hypotheses relating to L1 transfer and language universals, and a multivariate regression analysis evaluates the relative strength of each factor. The new article system is not found to be identical to the L1 article system. Although L1 transfer appears to be operative when an overt form (the specific indefinite article) exists in the L1, when a gap occurs in the L1 (no definite article), speakers do not completely omit the definite article in their second language English. Using Prince's (1981) taxonomy of assumed familiarity, it is shown that the absence of a L1 model for definite articles permits the intervention of universally available discourse knowledge, such that speakers apply an economical, disambiguating principle to the use of overt articles, reserving them mainly for new (less given or inferable) information and omitting them in more redundant contexts.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: India