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Volume 17 Number 3, Autumn 2020, Pages 758-1157   

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Non-target-like Syntactic Representation: An Investigation of L2 English Article Substitutions by L1 Thai Learners

    Nattama Pongpairoj

This research explored L2 English article substitutions by L1 learners. The participants were two groups of advanced L2 learners from different L1 backgrounds, i.e., French and Thai, the former a language with articles, and the latter an articleless language. The tasks were a perception task, i.e., a grammaticality judgment task, and a production task, i.e., a forced-choice elicitation task. The results confirmed the hypotheses in that correct English article use in the Thai group was significantly lower than that in the French group in both perception and production (p < .001). Moreover, while appropriate L2 English article use in both perception and production in the L1 Thai group was rather low, that in the L1 French group was at high rates. The findings confirmed the Failed Functional Features Hypothesis (Hawkins, 2000, 2003) and contradicted the Missing Surface Inflection Hypothesis (White, 2003, 2017) in that, unlike the French learners, as definiteness was not grammaticalized in Thai, the Thai learners' representation was non-target-like and English articles were therefore unattainable.

Keywords: non-target¬¬¬¬¬-like syntactic representation, article substitutions, L2 English, L1 Thai learners