The addition and omission of the English definite article : the by ESL / EFL learners --- a qualitative SFL investigation

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The addition and omission of the English definite article : the by ESL / EFL learners --- a qualitative SFL investigation

 

Author: Jin, Ying Blair
Title: The addition and omission of the English definite article : the by ESL / EFL learners --- a qualitative SFL investigation
Degree: M.A.
Year: 2014
Subject: English language -- Article.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of English
Pages: iv, 72 pages : illustrations
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2775904
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/7689
Abstract: Most of the existing research on the use of the definite article either focuses on its correct usage or the reasons for its misbehavior by English learners. This paper will investigate the use of the definite article from a Systemic Functional perspective. The main purpose of this paper is to investigate whether or not the misuse of the definite article by second and foreign language learners will affect the overall construal of the text. This research is based on 40 MA academic papers by students from the English Department of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. These 40 pieces of writing are intensively examined according to traditional grammar. Two other students are invited to be co-checkers of the performance of the definite article. After identifying the misbehaviors of the, analysis was carried out based on the three metafunctions namely the ideational, the interpersonal and the textual metafunctions. Finally, a qualitative interpretation of the definite article is carried out according to the system of INFORMATION, DETERMINATION and REFERENCE. The main findings of this research can be summarized as follows: (i) Students of high English proficiency tend to use the when indefinite a or zero article is expected; (ii) The use of the definite article is affected by the system of REFERENCE, DETERMINATION and INFORMATION; and (iii) Although the use of the will influence the textual status, it is found that the unexpected performance will not hinder general understanding of the text as whole.

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