The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

English: Teaching English as a Second Language: M.A.




College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

Edward Sadrai

Second Advisor

Choonkyong Kim

Third Advisor

Tim Fountaine

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Articles, Givenness Hierarchy, cognitive status, Nepali, referent


The following research was conducted to understand the use of English articles in referential noun phrases (RNPs) by students from Nepal. English articles, “a/an” and “the”, are widely known to be one of the most difficult aspects of English to learn for second language learners of English. This thesis examines the article use of language learners by using the Givenness Hierarchy Framework, an implicational hierarchy of cognitive statuses proposed by Gundel, Hedberg, and Zacharski (1993). The data used for this study were written samples of students from Nepal, who had newly entered a university in the Midwest, who took a placement test at the beginning of their academic career at that University. Thirty student placement essays were the materials utilized for this research. The essays were transcribed, the referential noun phrases (RNPs) were identified and numbered, the article use in each RNP was evaluated for English-likeness, and the cognitive status of each RNP was recognized according to the Givenness Hierarchy. The results show the dispersion of the RNPs across the cognitive statuses within the Givenness Hierarchy. Additionally, the results show a high level of English-likeness in each cognitive status category, and frequent non-English-like variations of oversuppliance of “the”, deletion of “a/an”, and deletion of “the”. This research analyzes the cognitive status and English-likeness of the article use of students from Nepal.



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