Children's Knowledge of Free Choice Inferences and Scalar Implicatures

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article presents experimental results showing that 4- and 5-year-old children are capable of drawing free choice inferences from disjunctive statements and from statements containing free choice indefinites, despite not being able to compute inferences of exclusivity for disjunctive statements, or other scalar implicatures. The findings appear to challenge accounts that attempt to unify the two kinds of inferences (Kratzer & Shimoyama 2002; Alonso Ovalle 2005; Fox 2007; Klinedinst 2007; Chemla 2010; van Rooij 2010; Franke 2011; Chierchia 2013). We discuss, however, the compatibility of the child data with a recent approach in the experimental literature, which attributes children's failures to compute scalar implicatures to a difficulty with alternatives (Chierchia et al. 2001; Gualmini et al. 2001; Reinhart 2006; Barner et al. 2011; Singh et al. 2013). Based on the results of two experiments, we propose an explanation for children's selective success on scalar inferences, according to which scalar inferences are generally unproblematic for children, unless they necessitate lexical retrieval of the required alternatives.
LanguageEnglish
Pages269-298
JournalJournal of Semantics
Volume33
Issue number2
Early online date3 Mar 2015
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Mar 2015

Fingerprint

Experiments
Scalar Implicatures
Free Choice
Inference
experiment
Exclusivity
Experiment
Lexical Retrieval
Compatibility
literature

Keywords

  • scalar implicatures
  • free choice
  • alternatives
  • acquisition

Cite this

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title = "Children's Knowledge of Free Choice Inferences and Scalar Implicatures",
abstract = "This article presents experimental results showing that 4- and 5-year-old children are capable of drawing free choice inferences from disjunctive statements and from statements containing free choice indefinites, despite not being able to compute inferences of exclusivity for disjunctive statements, or other scalar implicatures. The findings appear to challenge accounts that attempt to unify the two kinds of inferences (Kratzer & Shimoyama 2002; Alonso Ovalle 2005; Fox 2007; Klinedinst 2007; Chemla 2010; van Rooij 2010; Franke 2011; Chierchia 2013). We discuss, however, the compatibility of the child data with a recent approach in the experimental literature, which attributes children's failures to compute scalar implicatures to a difficulty with alternatives (Chierchia et al. 2001; Gualmini et al. 2001; Reinhart 2006; Barner et al. 2011; Singh et al. 2013). Based on the results of two experiments, we propose an explanation for children's selective success on scalar inferences, according to which scalar inferences are generally unproblematic for children, unless they necessitate lexical retrieval of the required alternatives.",
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Children's Knowledge of Free Choice Inferences and Scalar Implicatures. / Romoli, Jacopo.

In: Journal of Semantics, Vol. 33, No. 2, 03.03.2015, p. 269-298.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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