Jordanian Undergraduate EFL Students’ Errors in the Use of the Indefinite Article

| March 29, 2005
Title
Jordanian Undergraduate EFL Students’ Errors in the Use of the Indefinite Article

Keywords: the zero article, the definite article, the indefinite article, countable versus uncountable nouns, second language communication strategies, article-like morphemes, contracted and uncontracted copula

Authors
Dr. Rula Fahmi Bataineh
Jordan University

Bio Data
Dr. Rula Fahmi Bataineh is an Assistant Professor Department of English for Applied Studies Jordan University of Science and Technology Irbid, Jordan

Abstract
This study is an analysis of compositions written by Jordanian first-, second-, third- and fourth-year university EFL students. It aims at identifying the kinds of errors they make in the use of the indefinite article.

Nine types of error were identified, and their frequency computed and then compared across the three levels. These errors are: (1) deletion of the indefinite article, (2) writing a as part of the noun/adjective following it, (3) substitution of the indefinite for the definite article, (4) substitution of the definite for the indefinite article, (5) substitution of a for an, (6) use of the indefinite article with unmarked plurals, (7) use of the indefinite article with marked plurals, (8) use of the indefinite article with uncountable nouns, and (9) use of the indefinite article with adjectives.

Unlike earlier error analyses, native language transfer was found to play a role which is at best minimal. The analysis revealed that all errors, except one, are independent of the learners’ native language. The only type of error which could be traced back to the influence of Arabic, among other sources, was the deletion of the indefinite article. Developmental factors and common learning strategies like simplification and overgeneralization were found to account for the majority of learners’ errors. The use of these strategies was evident among the learners of the four levels who were found to do well on certain items and to have difficulty with others.

[private]

Download PDF

[/private]

Category: Quarterly Journal, Volume 7 Issue 1