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ERIC Number: EJ946794
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 39
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 49
ISSN: ISSN-1048-9223
Genericity Distinctions and the Interpretation of Determiners in Second Language Acquisition
Ionin, Tania; Montrul, Silvina; Kim, Ji-Hye; Philippov, Vadim
Language Acquisition: A Journal of Developmental Linguistics, v18 n4 p242-280 2011
English uses three types of generic NPs: bare plurals ("Lions are dangerous"), definite singulars ("The lion is dangerous"), and indefinite singulars ("A lion is dangerous"). These three NP types are not interchangeable: definite singulars and bare plurals can have generic reference at the NP-level, while indefinite singulars are compatible only with sentence-level genericity. This study investigates whether L1-Russian and L1-Korean L2-English learners, whose article-less L1s do not morphologically encode the distinction between the two types of genericity, can distinguish between the different types of English generics. The results of a written acceptability judgment task with intermediate/advanced L2-learners showed that the learners exhibited sensitivity to the two types of genericity. They were target-like on their interpretation of bare plural and indefinite singular generics, but had not acquired the interpretation of definite singular generics. Theoretical implications of these findings are discussed. (Contains 3 figures, 3 tables and 24 footnotes.)
Psychology Press. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A