ISSN Number

2632-6779 (Print)  

2633-6898 (Online)


Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory (ProQuest)

MLA International Bibliography

MLA Directory of Periodicals

Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)

QOAM (Quality Open Access Market)

British National Bibliography

WAC Clearinghouse Journal Listings

EBSCO Education

ICI Journals Master List


CNKI Scholar




Baidu Scholar

British Library





Google Scholar

Semantic Scholar

ORE Directory


China National Center for Philosophy and Social Sciences Documentation


Home Journal Index 2024-1

The Acquisition of English Articles by Chinese EFL College Students

Download Full PDF

Lina Qian

Jianghan University, China


Jin Li

University of International Business and Economics, China


Bingyu Zhang

Xi' an Jiaotong University, China



This paper reports the empirical consequences on the effect of cross-linguistic transfer in the acquisition of English articles by Chinese EFL college students. In contrast to English, Mandarin Chinese is an article-less language. Moreover, the two languages differ from each other in the denotation of semantic features such as definiteness, indefiniteness and genericity, etc. It remains unknown whether the cross-linguistic difference is transferable. To evaluate this possibility, the present study tested 20 English-learning Chinese college students in two experiments, respectively using a sentence completion task and a cloze task. The main findings were as follows across the two experiments. First, the participants performed better in the use of a/an than that of the. Second, a subset of the participants appeared to use bare NPs to denote genericity and singularity. Third, some participants had difficulty in the acquisition of genericity encoded by the and a/an. Fourth, some participants failed to tease apart the use of a and an. Taken together, the findings appear to support the Full Transfer Hypothesis. We discussed the implications of the findings in terms of cross-linguistic transfer theories.



Second language acquisition, cross-linguistic transfer, Mandarin Chinese, English articles