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"Scalar Implicatures in Child Language" Dr. Shuyan Wang (Department of Linguistics, Rutgers University)

Tuesday, December 06, 2022, 02:00pm - 03:20pm

152 Frelinghuysen Rd, Psych Bldg. Room 105

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Abstract: Relatively late mastery of scalar implicatures has been suggested to correlate with children’s immature processing capacities, such as their limited working memory (e.g., Chierchia et al. 2001; Pouscoulous et al. 2007; Reinhart 2004; Syrett et al. 2007). Yet, no studies have systematically evaluated the processing-based account. This project aims to fill this gap and examine the processing account from three different perspectives: 1) whether children’s working memory can reliably predict their performance on scalar implicatures (Experiment 1 & 2); 2) whether children with more cognitive resources available can compute more scalar implicatures (Experiment 3); 3) whether adults under excess high memory load will behave more like young children and compute fewer scalar implicatures (Experiment 4). The findings have provided new evidence for the processing account of children’s delay in scalar implicatures.

Bio: Shuyan earned her Ph.D in Linguistics from University of Connecticut. She works on language acquisition, especially the acquisition of Semantics, Pragmatics, and Syntax. Her specific topics of interest include the acquisition of scalar implicatures, free choice inferences, adjectives, and quantifiers. She focuses on how factors like grammar, maternal input, and processing can influence children’s language development. She is also interested in theoretical syntax and sign language studies, including numerals and classifiers in Mandarin and adjectives in American Sign Language. Shuyan’s post-doctoral fellowship is supported by Dr. Syrett’s NSF grant BCS 2016963