|General programme, activity sheet|
||Friday 19 September, 2014
Early interpretation of negated quantifiers
Authors: Tania Barberán Recalde
Early Interpretation of Negated Quantifiers
Children tend to accept weak quantifiers in contexts where strong ones hold (Noveck 2004), failing to generate Scalar Implicatures (SI). When a sentence has a negated quantifier, double-knowledge is required: (i) syntactic knowledge to determine the scope of negation and (ii) pragmatic knowledge to derive the SI. This study aims to test whether 5-year-old Spanish/Basque children exhibit both pieces of knowledge.
Sentences (1a,1a´) can be interpreted as (1b), where NOT has wide-scope (‘NONE-reading’), or as (1c), where NOT has narrow-scope (‘SOME-reading’).
(1) a. NOT ALL the apples are in the boxes
a´. ALL the apples are NOT in the boxes
b. ¬ (ALL the apples are in the boxes)
c. ¬ALL the apples are in the boxes
A sentence-evaluation task (Experiment1) tested children’s comprehension of ‘not all’ for Spanish no todos and Basque ez guztiak in Pragmatically Incorrect (PI) sentences. A puppet uttered (1a) in a context like (2). Children could accept or reject (1a), generating a (1b) or a (1c) interpretation, respectively.
(2) NONE of the apples are in the boxes
Results showed that Spanish and Basque children accepted (1a) in a 48% and 55% of cases, respectively.
A modified version of the materials (Experiment2), based on the substitution in the order of the items, tested children’s comprehension of ‘all not’ for Spanish todos no and Basque guztiak ez in PI sentences. The puppet uttered (1a´) in a context like (2).
In this case, results showed that both Spanish and Basque children accepted (1a´) in a 76% of cases.
Data reveal (i) that Spanish and Basque children are sentisitive to the position of NOT, based on the higher percentage of acceptance-rates in (Q-N)-expressions (see Musolino&Lidz, 2006), and (ii) that both pragmatic and syntactic knowledge are required to comprehend sentences consisting of a negated quantifier.
REFERENCES: Musolino, J. and Lidz, J. (2006). Why Children aren’t universally successful with Quantification. Linguistics. 44(4), 817-852. Noveck, I.A. (2004). Pragmatic inferences related to logical terms. In I.A. Noveck & D. Sperber (Eds.) Experimental Pragmatics. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Place: Main Room