• Relevance Theory and the in second language acquisition

      Žegarac, Vladimir (SAGE, 2004-07-01)
      This article considers the implications of Sperber and Wilson's (1986/95) Relevance Theory for the acquisition of English the by second language (L2) learners whose first language (L1) does not have an article system. On the one hand, Relevance Theory provides an explicit characterization of the semantics of the, which suggests ways of devising more accurate guidelines for teaching/learning than are available in current textbooks. On the other hand, Relevance Theoretic assumptions about human communication together with some effects of transfer from L1 provide the. basis for a number of predictions about the types of L2 learners' errors in the use of the. I argue that data from previous research (Trenkić, 2002) lend support to these predictions, and I try to show that examples drawn from the data I have collected provide evidence for the view that L2 learning is not influenced only by general pragmatic principles and hypotheses about L2 based on transfer from L1, but that learners also devise and test tacit hypotheses which are idiosyncratic to them.