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Competence and performance in the acquisition of quantification.
Tuesday, October 12, 2004, 01:00pm - 02:00pm
Northwestern University, Department of Linguistics
Whereas adults can assign either scopal interpretation to the quantificational NP (QNP) in sentences containing QNPs and negation like (1), 4-year-olds show a massive preference for surface scope (2) over inverse scope (3). (Musolino, Crain and Thornton 2000, Lidz and Musolino 2002, Musolino & Lidz in press a, Lidz & Musolino in press b).
1) Every horse didn't jump over the fence
2) Every horse is such that it didn't jump over the fence (i.e., none did)
3) Not every horse jumped over the fence (i.e., some did and some didn't)
In this talk we investigate the factors (prosodic, syntactic, pragmatic, parsing) responsible for children's overly narrow interpretations. We show that while children do have adult-like syntactic representations of such sentences, deficiencies in the domains of pragmatics and sentence parsing lead to their failure to access inverse scope interpretations.