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The role of input in the acquisition of English articles by L1 Najdi Arabic speakers

Abumlhah, May Abdulaziz (2016) The role of input in the acquisition of English articles by L1 Najdi Arabic speakers. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

The acquisition of English articles has been studied extensively in recent years suggesting difficulties facing learners from languages with and without articles. Explorations into cross-linguistic differences defined semantic universals of article features such as: definiteness, specificity and genericity and different form-meaning mappings between languages (e.g. Hawkins et al, 2006; Ionin, Ko & Wexler, 2004; Ionin & Montrul, 2009; Ionin et al, 2011; Slabakova, 2008; Snape, 2006). Meanwhile, this detailed account of the features related to articles is not found in English language instruction. The purpose of this research is to investigate the application of those findings from current generative second language acquisition research in the language classroom. The study started out by defining the difficulties in acquiring English articles by L1 Najdi Arabic speakers through a “contrastive analysis of features” that cause re-assembly difficulties (Lardiere, 2008, 2009; Slabakova, 2009). Contexts that involve the [+generic] feature are proposed to involve feature re-assembly difficulties and another difficulty is found with syntactic restrictions on the definite article when the noun is modified by a relative clause (Almahboob, 2009; Azaz, 2014; Sarko, 2009a, 2009b). Following an experimental design, the study included 54 Najdi Arabic speakers and 10 native English speakers. Three instruments were used: forced choice, sentence repetition, and written production conducted as pre-tests, post-tests and delayed post-tests eight weeks later. Two experimental groups received explicit and an implicit instruction with reinforced texts over the course of five weeks and a third uninstructed control group was used for comparison. The findings show that explicit and implicit instruction resulted in improvement not found with the control group. The explicit instruction resulted in improvement on the generic plural context and sustained long term effect. Therefore, this study recommends explicit instruction following an analytic focus on form on reinforced texts to accelerate the re-assembly process and recovery from L1 transfer.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Feature reassembly, acquisition, articles, Arabic, explicit input, implicit input, GenSLA
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Languages Cultures and Societies (Leeds) > Linguistics & Phonetics (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.701449
Depositing User: May Abumlhah
Date Deposited: 16 Jan 2017 10:09
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2018 09:53
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/15965

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