Edited by Tania Leal, Elena Shimanskaya and Casilde A. Isabelli
[Language Acquisition and Language Disorders 67] 2022
► pp. 67–92
We investigate the hypothesis that nouns in article-less languages are unambiguous with respect to definiteness, an unambiguity that is evident in the interpretation of ungrammatical “bare” or article-less singular nouns in L2 English. Specifically, we tested the hypothesis that bare nouns in L2 English are interpreted as definite, administering an acceptability judgment task to intermediate L2 learners of English whose native language is Mandarin. We used sentences containing bare singular nouns in different syntactic positions and discourse contexts. We found bare subjects to be most acceptable in contexts that required definites, while bare objects were acceptable across contexts. Bare nouns in L2 English are argued to be unambiguous, following a systematic pattern determined by argument position and discourse context.