Research Article

The Arabic Definite Article: A Challenge Facing Advanced L2 Learners



One of the most difficult challenges of learning Arabic as a foreign language is mastering the definite article system. Research in the area of Arabic L2 acquisition shows that the Arabic definite article al- ‘the’ poses serious difficulties for adult learners even at advance levels. This article is among the most frequent words of the Arabic language, and has a crucial role in maintaining text cohesion and coherence. Because of this importance and high frequency, al- ‘the’ has a huge effect on L2 learners’ language competence. The present study examines the written errors in advanced non-native Arabic learners’ use of the definite article in order to identify the most difficult areas for them, explor possible factors contributing to these difficulties, and suggest strategies that could reduce their effect. The data examined cosists of 89 written text extracted from the Arabic Learner Corpus (ALC) v2, compiled by Alfaifi, Atwel, & Hedaya (2014). A general description of the errors is provided after they are identified and classified. The study found both stuructural and semantic areas of difficulty in the learners’ usage of al, these areas were then examined to explore possible factors causing this persistent problem. Based on the analysis, some strategies to overcome these difficulties were suggested.

Article information


International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation

Volume (Issue)

6 (8)





How to Cite

A . Alkohlani, F. (2023). The Arabic Definite Article: A Challenge Facing Advanced L2 Learners . International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation, 6(8), 215–225.



Definiteness, definite article, Arabic definiteness-, ال التعريف, صعوبات غير الناطقين بالعربية, العربية لغة ثانية, المدونة اللغوية لمتعلمي اللغة العربية, أخطاء كتابية