These exercises are designed to give you not only an assessment tool but also a teaching tool for second and first language learners.
SEMANTICS OF ENGLISH ARTICLES
The definitions of definiteness and specificity, proposed by (Ionin, Ko, & Wexler, 2004). Cross-linguistically, semantic distinctions of articles encode as definiteness and specificity. Ionin, Ko, and Wexler (2004) defined the latter terms as follows: definiteness occurs when “the speaker and hearer presuppose the existence of a unique individual in the set denoted by the NP” and specificity occurs when “the speaker intends to refer to a unique individual in the set denoted by the NP and considers this individual to possess some noteworthy property” (p. 5).The idea of definiteness relates to the knowledge shared between the speaker and hearer (or writer and reader). What actually constitute definiteness or indefiniteness is still subject to debate. L2 learners are faced with a host of contextual, semantic and syntactic processing when settling in on the proper use of definite or indefinite. In (Definiteness, 1999, p.2-3) identifies familiarity and identifiability as just a couple of parameters to be considered with learners are settling on the definition of definiteness and specificity. For example:
1. (a) I bought a car this morning.
(b) I bought the car this morning.
In (1b) the car is in some sense more definite and specific than a car. But in the speaker’s mind as far as the speaker is concerned a car could identify a particular car even though the hearer may not know of the speaker’s new car, but may be aware that the speaker was shopping for a new car. In cases like this, Christophersen (1939) and Hawkins (1978) view of definiteness is known as the familiarity hypothesis.