Evidence of cross-linguistic influence in the interpretation and production of generic expressions by Persian-speaking learners of English

2014 IJRSLL – Volume 3 Issue 3


Momenzade, Marjansadat*
University of Isfahan, Iran (marymomen@yahoo.com)

Youhanaee, Manijeh
University of Isfahan, Iran (youhanaee_m@hotmail.com)

Kassaian, Zohreh
University of Isfahan, Iran (zkassaian@yahoo.com)


The present study attempted to explore the acquisition of the English article system by Persian speakers. Using data elicited through a grammaticality judgment test and a translation test from forty-three learners at three levels of grammatical knowledge, it was shown that such learners had persistent difficulty in acquiring both definite and indefinite articles in English. Based on this study, it was only at the highly advanced level that learners showed mastery of the indefinite article but still remained non-native-like in their use of the definite article. Their performance also revealed sensitivity to NP function as the learners were more successful in supplying the article for object nouns. Despite the high proportion of article errors, data from Persian learners supported the predictions of the Fluctuation Hypothesis because the majority of errors were omitting the articles in obligatory contexts and not misusing the articles. Some directions are also provided for teaching the English article system to Persian speaking learners.

Keywords: article choice parameter; fluctuation hypothesis; definiteness; specificity; NP function


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5861/ijrsll.2013.401

*Corresponding Author