The case of Romanian Learner English
4. Articles in Romanian Learner English
4.Articles in Romanian Learner English
Article use can be classified as a basic learner problem since its functions are acquired at beginner’s stage. It is evident that most EFL learners encounter difficulties in employing either definite or indefinite articles since the students seem “to use articles almost randomly” (Yamada and Matsuura 1982: 50). Even if these difficulties are not perceived as erroneous usage in particular cases, they can be very easily detected as a result of frequency analysis.
For example, a basic contrastive analysis (Figure 5.1) of the article frequencies (definite and indefinite) in the Romanian Corpus of Learner English and the native counterpart, LOCNESS, highlights two major learner language features: the definite article the is slightly underused by Romanian learners of English compared to the native speakers whereas the indefinite articles, both forms a and an, are fairly overused in the same collection of data. Given the fact that the statistical differences between the learner variety and the native corpus are not very high (e.g. frequency rates for a/an: 2.74%/RoCLE versus 2.49%/LOCNESS), a detailed analysis of the lexico-grammatical environment of each of the two article categories should reveal more specific EFL phenomena.
Literature in the field argues that the article errors in EFL environment are often explained either through the misinterpretation of article use grammar rules (Yoon 1993; Butler 2002) or the interference with the mother tongue (Leonini 2006; Guella, Déprez et al. 2008). The approach to the use...
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