The Korean Association for the Study of English Language and Linguistics

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Korean Journal of English Language and Linguistics - Vol. 21

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Korea Journal of English Language and Linguistics - Vol. 21, No. 0, pp.56-70
Abbreviation: KASELL
ISSN: 1598-1398 (Print) 2586-7474 (Online)
Received 23 Dec 2020 Revised 18 Jan 2021 Accepted 26 Jan 2021

초등영어 학습자의 가산명사 판정에서 언어적 맥락과 명제적 정보의 활용
이현정 ; 성민창

Korean primary English learners’ use of linguistic context and propositional information in the judgment of count nouns
Hyun Jeong Lee ; Min-Chang Sung
(1st author) Graduate student, Gyeongin Nat’l Univ. of Education, Tel: 031-470-6330 (
(corresponding author) Professor, Gyeongin Nat’l Univ. of Education, Tel: 031-470-6335 (

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This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons License, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This study examined whether Korean learners of primary English effectively use linguistic context and propositional information to judge the acceptability of English count nouns. To this end, 44 fourth-graders at a primary school in Incheon participated in two tasks of acceptability judgment: sentence-based and picture-based. To make correct judgments about sentences containing count nouns, they had to use the linguistic contexts in the sentence-based task (i.e. determiners preceding the object nouns: e.g. two cats/*cat) and the propositional information in the picture-based task (i.e. number of the referent in each image: e.g. two dogs in a picture). Every sentence began with the 1st-person singular pronoun I and a past-tense verb and ended with a locative or temporal adverb phrase to make the number-related morpheme of the object noun less salient. While the participants showed similar levels of means and standard deviations in the two tasks, the between-task correlation was found to be insignificant, which implies that the participants varied from one another in their use of linguistic context and propositional information. In the sentence-based task, they appeared to be less capable of using linguistic context, especially when they had to reject the sentences with incorrect number forms such as a *cups. In the picture-based task, they were less able to use propositional information in the pictures to make correct judgments about count-noun forms. In particular, the mean scores were significantly lower for the items visualizing singular entities than those visualizing plural ones. Based on these findings, the present study suggests that primary English grammar education for count nouns and other basic linguistic units should systematically consider form, meaning, and use.

Keywords: primary English education, count noun, form, meaning, use

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