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Competence and performance in the acquisition of quantification.

Jeffrey Lidz

Tuesday, October 12, 2004, 01:00pm - 02:00pm

Northwestern University, Department of Linguistics

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 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.

Jeffrey Lidz