LINGUIST List 14.777

Mon Mar 17 2003

Diss: Lang Acquisition: Snape "Variability..."

Editor for this issue: Anita Yahui Huang <>


  1. nealsnape, Lang Acquisition: Snape "Variability in the use of..."

Message 1: Lang Acquisition: Snape "Variability in the use of..."

Date: Sun, 16 Mar 2003 22:31:56 +0000
From: nealsnape <>
Subject: Lang Acquisition: Snape "Variability in the use of..."

Institution: University of Essex
Program: Department of Language and Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2002

Author: Neal Ellis Snape 

Dissertation Title: 
Variability in the use of the English article system by Japanese
learners of English

Dissertation URL:

Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition

Dissertation Director 1: Roger Hawkins
Dissertation Director 2: Shigenori Wakabayashi

Dissertation Abstract: 

The focus of this study is to investigate why advanced Japanese
learners of English have variability in the use of the English article
system. A similar study by Robertson (2000) was conducted on advanced
Chinese learners of English and this study has used the same
distributional classes, based on Hawkins (1978) and Robertson's
taxonomy of definiteness and indefiniteness. The findings are further
analysed using Bickerton.s (1981) semantic binary features [�Specific
Referent] and [�Hearer Knowledge] and are compared with findings from
Parrish (1987), Chaudron and Parker (1990) and Thomas (1989).
The results of this study do support predictions that advanced
Japanese learners of English have variable use of articles in English
and the influence on variation in articles is related to the learners'
proficiency level. Furthermore, this supports the view of Schwartz
(1998) that second language learners have absolute first language
influence in building their L2 grammar, but this also depends on their
L1. Studies by Parodi et al (1997) and Wakabayashi (1997) have shown
that L2 learners, who have articles in their first language, are more
likely to acquire the functional categories D and Num before L2
learners without articles in their L1. Nevertheless, this study
supports Hawkins (2001) claim that learners do go through stages of
incremental development in the acquisition of DP, though Japanese
learners of English may take longer in acquiring these categories as
there is no article system in their L1.
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