NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ787386
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 24
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 36
ISSN: ISSN-0267-6583
The Acquisition of Articles in Child Second Language English: Fluctuation, Transfer or Both?
Zdorenko, Tatiana; Paradis, Johanne
Second Language Research, v24 n2 p227-250 2008
The data for this study consisted of a longitudinal corpus of narratives from 17 English second language (L2) children, mean age of 5;4 years at the outset, with first languages (Lls) that do not have definite/indefinite articles (Chinese, Korean and Japanese) and Lls that do have article systems (Spanish, Romanian and Arabic). We examined these children's acquisition of articles in order to determine the role of L1 transfer and, in so doing, test the Fluctuation Hypothesis, and also to compare our findings to those from research on adult L2 learners. Three tendencies were found over two years: (1) All children substituted "the" for "a" in indefinite specific contexts (i.e. showed fluctuation) regardless of L1 background; (2) all children were more accurate with use of "the" in definite contexts than with "a" in indefinite contexts, regardless of L1 background; and (3) children with [-article] Lls had more omitted articles as error forms than children with [+article] L1s, but only at the early stages of acquisition. Overall, L1 influence in the children's developmental patterns and rates of article acquisition was limited. Child L2 learners converged on the target system faster than prior reports have indicated for adult L2 learners, even when their L1s lack articles. Thus, we conclude that fluctuation is a developmental process that overrides transfer in child L2 acquisition of English articles, in contrast to what has been reported for adult L2 learners. (Contains 4 tables.)
SAGE Publications. 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320. Tel: 800-818-7243; Tel: 805-499-9774; Fax: 800-583-2665; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A