Article Use in Russian and Spanish Learner Writing at CEFR B1 and B2 Levels: Effects of Proficiency, Native Language, and Specificity

Tania Ionin, María Belén Díez-Bedmar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This paper investigates article use in learner corpora in order to (i) examine how both the native language and proficiency level influence the patterns of article use, misuse, and omission and (ii) examine whether patterns of the overuse of the with specific indefinites found in experimental studies are also present in learner corpora. To this end, 200 texts from the Cambridge Learner Corpus are examined: 100 texts from Spanish-speaking learners of English and 100 texts from Russian and Ukrainian-speaking learners of English. Each subcorpus has an even distribution between learners at CEFR B1 and B2 proficiency levels. The results confirm that the learners’ native language affects article use: speakers of Spanish, an article language, show an increase in correct article use with proficiency; in contrast, speakers of Russian, an article-less language, continue to make article errors. On the other hand, the particular patterns of article misuse found in prior experimental work are not found in learner corpora: while Russian-speaking learners do overuse the with indefinites in the corpora, this error type is not tied to specificity. This null finding could be due in part to the relatively low number of errors of the overuse in the learner corpus.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationLearner Corpus Research Meets Second Language Acquisition
EditorsBret Le Bruyn, Magali Paquot
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)9781108674577
ISBN (Print)9781108442299
StatePublished - Dec 29 2020


  • articles
  • learner corpora
  • definiteness
  • specificity
  • Spanish
  • Russian
  • CEFR levels

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