Acquisition and Accurate Use of English Articles by Persian Speakers

Document Type: Research Paper

Author

Shiraz University of Arts, Shiraz, Iran

Abstract

This study was conducted with the purpose of examining Persian speakers’ article acquisition and use with reference to Ionin, Ko and Wexler’s (2004) model, which is based on the prediction of Fluctuation Hypothesis (FH) that EFL learners of [-article] languages, like Persian, make erroneous article use in [+definite, -specific] and [-definite, +specific] contexts. From among the students of an Iranian university, 90 participants were randomly selected and divided into three groups based on their proficiency levels (elementary, intermediate and advanced). They completed a forced-choice elicitation task, consisting of 20 dialogues, similar to Ionin et al.’s (2004) questionnaire. It was hypothesized that as proficiency level increases, the accuracy level increases, while article misuse and omission decrease. The overall results suggested that the performance of the participants of the study, even the advanced group, was below the ceiling level (90% accuracy observed in native and near-native speakers). Moreover, as the level of proficiency increased, the accuracy level of article use increased and omission error decreased, but article misuse showed no significant decrease. It was concluded that low performance of Persian speakers is due to the lack of correspondence between Persian and English determiner phrase (DP) structures and lack of adequate input.

Keywords


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