This study investigated article use in two groups of children, a [+article] L1 group and a [-article] L1 group, acquiring English as a second language. The children's mean age was 5;4 years at the outset. Three main tendencies were found over two years: (1) all children were more accurate with the in definite contexts than with a in indefinite contexts, and accuracy grew over time, (2) all children overused the in indefinite contexts, and (3) the significant difference between the two groups was frequent article omission and lower accuracies in article use by the [-article] group. The findings suggest that L2 children, similar to L2 adults, start out by transferring L1 structure into L2, but seem to master the article system faster than adults. L1 functional structure appears to influence child L2 acquisition at the initial but not final state.
Proceedings of the 2nd Conference on Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition North America (GALANA)
edited by Alyona Belikova, Luisa Meroni, and Mari Umeda Table of contents
ISBN 978-1-57473-419-5 library binding
vii + 490 pages
publication date: 2007
published by Cascadilla Proceedings Project, Somerville, MA, USA