Children’s comprehension of plural predicate conjunction

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Previous developmental studies of conjunction have focused on the syntax of phrasal and sentential coordination (Lust 1977; de Villiers, Tager-Flusberg, & Hakuta 1977; Bloom, Lahey, Hood, Lifter, & Fiess 1980, among others). The present study exam- ined the flexibility of children’s interpretation of conjunction. Specifically, when two predicates that can apply simultaneously to a single individual are conjoined in the scope of a plural definite (The bears are big and white), conjunction receives a boolean, intersective interpretation. However, when the conjoined predicates cannot apply si- multaneously to an individual (The bears are big and small), conjunction receives a weaker ‘split’ interpretation (Krifka 1990; Lasersohn 1995; Winter 1996). Our exper- iments reveal that preschool-aged children are sensitive to both intersective and split interpretations, and can use their lexical and world knowledge of the relevant predicates in order to select an appropriate reading.
LanguageEnglish
Pages1-16
JournalJournal of Child Language
Volume00
Early online date8 May 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 May 2017

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Split
Developmental Study
World Knowledge
Definites
Preschool children
Syntax
Lexical Knowledge
Lust
Experiment

Keywords

  • semantics
  • pragmatics
  • acquisition
  • conjunctions

Cite this

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title = "Children’s comprehension of plural predicate conjunction",
abstract = "Previous developmental studies of conjunction have focused on the syntax of phrasal and sentential coordination (Lust 1977; de Villiers, Tager-Flusberg, & Hakuta 1977; Bloom, Lahey, Hood, Lifter, & Fiess 1980, among others). The present study exam- ined the flexibility of children’s interpretation of conjunction. Specifically, when two predicates that can apply simultaneously to a single individual are conjoined in the scope of a plural definite (The bears are big and white), conjunction receives a boolean, intersective interpretation. However, when the conjoined predicates cannot apply si- multaneously to an individual (The bears are big and small), conjunction receives a weaker ‘split’ interpretation (Krifka 1990; Lasersohn 1995; Winter 1996). Our exper- iments reveal that preschool-aged children are sensitive to both intersective and split interpretations, and can use their lexical and world knowledge of the relevant predicates in order to select an appropriate reading.",
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Children’s comprehension of plural predicate conjunction. / Romoli, Jacopo.

In: Journal of Child Language, Vol. 00, 08.05.2017, p. 1-16.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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