The Effects of Discourse Types on the Use of English Articles by Korean Learners of English: Oral vs. Written Narratives

Juyeon Lee


Learning to use English articles appropriately has been considered a challenging task for L2 learners of English, especially when their L1s do not have a similar article system. Much research has been conducted in this area, but little has been studied about the effects of discourse types (i.e., spoken discourse versus written discourse) on the accurate production of English articles by L2 learners. The present study examined how Korean learners of English at distinct proficiency levels employed articles in oral narratives compared to written narratives. The results showed that the cognitive and performance constraints associated with spontaneous oral speech hindered learners from producing articles accurately. Furthermore, the effects of discourse types were found to be greater on the indefinite article, whose usage is considered more complex than the definite article. Concerning the proficiency levels, the intermediate learners exhibited patterns that are indicative of a considerable gap between implicit and explicit knowledge of English articles while the advanced learners seem to have stabilized in their use of articles. The findings of this study suggest that writing activities can be beneficial for learners at the beginning levels to increase the awareness of the English article system. For more proficient learners, speaking activities can be used to promote a more accurate production of articles in both speech and writing by utilizing their explicit knowledge of English articles.

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English Language Teaching       ISSN 1916-4742 (Print)   ISSN  1916-4750 (Online)

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