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Explicit and Implicit Knowledge of Article Semantics in Belarusian Learners of English: Implications for Teaching

Chapter in book
Authors Anders Agebjörn
Published in Formal Linguistics and Language Education. New Empirical Perspectives / edited by Trotzke, A. & Kupisch, T.
Pages 179–203
ISBN 978-3-030-39257-4
ISSN 1572-0292
Publisher Springer
Place of publication Cham, Switzerland
Publication year 2020
Published at Department of Swedish
Pages 179–203
Language en
Keywords Explicit knowledge, Implicit knowledge, Articles, Definiteness, Second language acquisition, Russian, Belarusian, English, Language teaching
Subject categories Bilingualism


The study investigates explicit and implicit knowledge of article seman- tics in 26 second language learners of English. Their first languages, Russian and Belarusian, lack articles. The research question is whether explicit knowledge, operationalised as an ability to explain what principle governs the choice between the definite and the indefinite article in a multiple-choice test, is associated with target-like use of articles in an oral, communicative task, assumed to tap mainly into implicit knowledge. No correlation between explicit and implicit knowledge, as measured with the two tasks, was found, suggesting that explicit knowledge is not necessary to acquire article semantics in this group of learners. The result is discussed within a modular, cognitive framework, and implications for teaching are considered.

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