The Acquisition of the English Article System by Libyan Learners of English: A Comparison between Deductive Teaching and Textual Enhanced Input Strategies

El Werfalli, Intesar (2013) The Acquisition of the English Article System by Libyan Learners of English: A Comparison between Deductive Teaching and Textual Enhanced Input Strategies. Doctoral thesis, University of Northumbria.


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Previous research has shown that the English article system poses a great challenge to second language learners of English. Thus, this current study aims at understanding the difficulties first year Libyan students have in acquiring the English article system by using the following three steps.

First, the Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis (CAH) was adopted to compare the article system in both English and Arabic. This procedure was employed in order to predict the difficulties that Libyan learners might be confronted by. Therefore, based on CAH, several difficulties were predicted. Moreover, because there are different opinions between researchers from the Arabic world and those from the west regarding the effect of L1 in the acquisition of grammatical items, this study tests what role L1 may play when L2 Libyan learners of English acquire the English article system.

The second part aims to investigate the effectiveness of two kinds of article instruction: an implicit teaching strategy (i.e. textual enhanced input) and an explicit teaching strategy (deductive teaching) with an evaluation of the long-term effects. These teaching strategies were compared in order to:
1. Measure the effectiveness in using the English article system appropriately,
2. Measure grammatical development using t-unit,
3. Measure lexical diversity using TTR.

The experiment was administrated to three groups of ESL first year students at Garyounis University in Libya. One group (TEI) received instructions based on an input enhancement strategy. In order to direct the learners’ attention to the target features, the researcher manipulated the learners’ input with the aim of provoking development by deliberately engaging awareness and trying to increase the learners’ attention.

The second group (DT) was instructed based on the deductive teaching strategy. It was instructed in accordance with two popular grammar books, specifically ‘Essential Grammar in Use’ by Murphy (1998) and ‘Oxford Practice Grammar’ by Eastwood (1999). The third group, the (CG) served as the control group and received exposure to language through reading passages. The procedure of this group was similar to that of the (TEI) group, with the only difference being that the articles in the texts for this group were not enhanced.

All three groups were given a similar article test three times as the pre- test, post- test 1 and post-test 2. The pre-test was given prior to the treatment so that the results of the test served to ascertain a baseline for all groups. Then, eight weeks later, after the treatment was finished, post-test 1 was immediately given, in order to measure proficiency gains; post-test 2 was given to the students six months later to distinguish the long term effects on the learning process.

With regards to the effectiveness of using the English article appropriately, the results showed that group DT improved from pre-test to post-tests 1& 2. The scores that were above chance in post-test1 & 2 were better than those in the pre-test. In the TEI group, the scores which were above chance, slightly improved from pre-test to post-tests 1 & 2. For the CG group, the scores in post-test 1 which were above chance, improved slightly from pre-test and that the scores in post-test 2 reduced from those of the pre-test.

The measurement of lexical diversity was undertaken using TTR. The results showed that both groups TEI and CG presented better results (i.e. development in students’ writing) than the DT group in post-test 1. In post-test 2, only the TEI group improved significantly. This result suggests that the TEI group remained unchanged after 6 months of instruction.

The third part of this study analyzed and classified learners’ errors. It confirmed the types of errors predicted previously in chapter 3: omission of a/an/the, unnecessary insertion of a/an / the and confusion between a and an. The results revealed that the percentage of omission of a/an was higher than the omission of ‘the’, and that the percentage of unnecessary insertion of a/an/the was less than the omission of a/an/the.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: The English article system, Libyan learners of English, teaching strategies, textual enhanced input, error analysis
Subjects: Q100 Linguistics
Q300 English studies
T500 African studies
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Humanities
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Ellen Cole
Date Deposited: 13 Mar 2015 15:14
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2023 16:48

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