Variation of Nonstandard English Articles Among Chinese Speakers of English

  • Hsuan-Yu TaiEmail author
Original Paper


Article use is highly variable and known as a cause of frequent problems among nonnative speakers of English. This study investigated the variation of article omission and overuse in academic writing among Chinese speakers of English. The researcher collected 188 short class reflection essays and used variable rule analysis to analyze them. The quantitative findings revealed that countable plural nouns favored the the omission. Also, NPs assumed to be known to the hearer and in the initial clause position favored a/an omission. NPs assumed to be known by the hearer favored overuse of the for zero articles. These results indicated that universal discourse property, L1 transfer, and information structure influenced article variation as the patterns were systematic rather than chaotic. The study concludes that variable rule analysis could provide interlanguage variation studies with valuable insights. Using the results, practitioners will be better equipped to understand why nonstandard articles occur. They will also be able to direct their learners’ attention to the relationship between influential factors and nonstandard uses, increasing the learners’ awareness of how to use articles correctly.


Article variation Article omission Article overuse, Variable rule analysis 



英文冠詞的使用具有高度的變異性, 也是非母語者學習英文過程中的常見問題。本研究探討中文為母語使用者在學術寫作中遺漏和過度使用冠詞的變異情形。研究者收集了188篇課堂反思寫作, 並使用變異數規則分析進行統計分析。結果顯示, 可數的複數名詞能夠預測定冠詞the的遺漏; 名詞如果屬於聽者所知以及在子句前的位置的話, 則能夠預測不定冠詞a/an的遺漏; 聽者所知的名詞能夠預測定冠詞the在不需冠詞情境下的過度使用。這樣的結果顯示言談的普遍特性, 第一語言的遷移和信息結構影響了冠詞的變異; 而且學習者的變異模式是有系統而非混亂的。本研究因此認為變異數規則分析能為中介語變異研究提供具有啟發的結果。透過本研究, 教師能夠更了解學習者為何會出現非標準的冠詞使用; 也能將學習者的注意力導向影響因素與非標準用途之間的關係, 進而使他們更加了解正確的用法。


冠詞變異 冠詞遺漏 冠詞過度使用 變異數規則分析 


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Copyright information

© National Taiwan Normal University 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Chin-Yi University of TechnologyTaichungTaiwan

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