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Articles in English Grammar

Articles in English Grammar

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Articles in English Grammar

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  1. Articles in English Grammar Mandy Reinig APLNG 484 Tuesday, April 24, 2007

  2. Outline • Definition of Articles (1.5) • Indefinite • Definite • Article Use in Other Languages (1.5) • Project (5) • Description of Project and How it was Implemented • Results of fill in the blank sentences • Results of questions asked • Observations/Implications • Teaching Strategies (1) • Limitations/Improvements of Project (1)

  3. Definition • Indefinite Articles • a, an, some, or no article • Refers to general or nonspecific nouns • Definite Articles • the – for both singular and plural • Refers to a specific noun • Can also be used for formality or collective nouns • No Article • Occurs with nonspecific, non-count, or mass or plural nouns – nouns that have no specific quantity • Ex. Milk, cheese

  4. Article Use in Other Languages • Asian, Slavic, African languages • Do not have an article system • Arabic, Welsh languages • Only use definite articles • French, Spanish languages • Separate articles according to gender • Greek language • Uses articles with proper nouns • May use articles as suffixes rather than individual word

  5. Project • Gave surveys to 2 ENGL 015S classes • 27 people completed surveys • 3 were discarded • 24 surveys analyzed • Surveys • 14 sentences • Needed to choose a, an, the, or leave it blank • 3 questions to determine difficulty and their language ability

  6. Language Results • 23 of 24 listed English • 1 did not answer • Other languages • 5 – Spanish • 4 – French • 2 – German • 1 each of Creole, Cantonese, American Sign Language, Russian, Wolof, Mandingo

  7. Articles Questionnaire In each of the sentences below, you will see a blank. Please choose one of the following articles for each sentence – a, an, the or leave it blank. 1. My father’s car is considered to be ______ piece of art. 2. _______ (B/b)eauty is fleeting. 3. _______ (A/a)ir in the room was stifling. 4. The doctor told me that I needed ______ operation tomorrow. 5. ______ (I/i)nformation I received was extremely important. 6. ______ (A/a)ir is made up of millions of atoms. 7. My parents could not believe that their dog had peed on ______ carpet. 8. ______ (A/a)pple a day keeps the doctor away. 9. In some cultures ______ dogs are considered man’s best friend. 10. My sister decided to cut her hair with ______ scissors. 11. I was bitten by _______ mosquito in the Caribbean. 12. When the horn honked, it scared me and I dropped ______ glass on the floor. 13. In ancient Egypt _______ cat was considered sacred. 14. Is _______ water in Lake Erie safe to drink? Which sentences above gave you the most difficulty in deciding on an answer? Why? What language(s) do you speak, including English? Please write them in the order of your proficiency.

  8. Sentence Difficulty • 3 – none were difficult • 1 – all sentences were equal • 1 each for sentences 1 and 6 – hard to choose • 4 each for sentences 2, 10, and 12 • 5 – sentence 13 • Most felt difficulty stemmed from having more than one option for sentence • Results match answers given on survey

  9. Observations/Implications • Native English speakers have difficult in choosing which articles to use • There are rules that work for many sentences in article choice • However, rules not concrete

  10. Teaching Strategies • Teach rules (i.e. when to choose definite vs. indefinite article) • But also teach that the other may be grammatically correct • Depends on what they are trying to convey • Teach the difference between non-count, count, and mass nouns and general versus specific • Compare to their first language

  11. Project Limitations/Improvements • Small sample • Determine if students know what an article is (i.e. how to define) • Determine how students decided to fill in the blank • Explain instructions in more detail • Possibly expand and give to ESL students to compare with ‘native’ English speakers • Add idiomatic expressions

  12. Questions?