Knowledge of indefinite articles in L2-English: Online vs. offline performance

Tania Ionin, Sea Hee Choi, Qiufen Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This study uses both offline and online tasks in order to investigate whether second language learners of English from an article-less first-language (Mandarin) are able to integrate the indefinite article into their grammar despite the lack of articles in their first language. This article reports on two studies, one on learners’ sensitivity to errors of article omission and one on learners’ sensitivity to errors of article misuse. The results indicate that learners show quite native-like sensitivity to errors with articles online, and in fact perform in a more target-like manner in an online task than in a traditional offline judgment task. The findings of this study provide evidence against the Morphological Congruency Hypothesis in that they indicate that learners can represent a new morphological category (in this case, the indefinite article) in their Interlanguage grammar.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSecond Language Research
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019



  • Mandarin
  • articles
  • indefinites
  • morphological congruency
  • online methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this