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Type: Journal article
Title: Countability and confusion: Helping students with English as an additional language to understand the English article system
Author: Miller, J.
Citation: Journal of Academic Language and Learning, 2018; 12(2):A55-A74
Publisher: Association for Academic Language Learning
Issue Date: 2018
ISSN: 1835-5196
Statement of
Julia Miller
Abstract: Academic language and learning (ALL) practitioners are frequently asked by students for help with English grammar, but are not equipped to answer questions in detail. This study examines an explanation of the English article system (a/an/the) for adult high intermediate level university students (average IELTS score 5.5) with English as an Additional Language (EAL). The aim was to inform ALL practice by determining which articles are most difficult for EAL students to use correctly. Participants (n = 297) were given a pretest from which twenty articles had been deleted, followed by a teaching session and a posttest. A comparison of pre- and posttest scores indicated some improvement in definite and indefinite article usage, although the indefinite article was more problematic than the definite article. It is recommended that ALL practitioners working with upper intermediate level students concentrate on countability, first use indefinite articles and the correct use of the definite article followed by ‘of’ or a relative clause. Occasions when nouns are not preceded by articles should also be highlighted. The study challenges ALL advisors to investigate particular problems in other areas of English grammar in order to understand their students’ difficulties and provide better ALL support.
Keywords: academic language and learning practitioners; countability; def-inite article; English as an additional language; indefinite article
Description: Published online 21 May, 2018
Rights: © 2018 J. Miller. The copyright for articles in this journal is retained by the author(s), with first publication rights granted to the journal. By virtue of their appearance in this open access journal, articles are free to use with proper attribution in educational and other non-commercial settings.
RMID: 0030090698
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Appears in Collections:Education publications

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