Journal of Psycholinguistic Research

, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 155–176 | Cite as

Children’s Knowledge of the Quantifier Dou in Mandarin Chinese



The quantifier dou (roughly corresponding to English ‘all’) in Mandarin Chinese has been the topic of much discussion in the theoretical literature. This study investigated children’s knowledge of this quantifier using a new methodological technique, which we dubbed the Question-Statement Task. Three questions were addressed: (i) whether young Mandarin-speaking children know that dou is a universal quantifier that quantifies over the elements to its left, (ii) whether they know that dou is an adverb of quantification (Q-adverb) which can (unselectively) bind any variable in its domain, and (iii) whether they know that dou can quantify over wh-words. The main finding was that, by age four, Mandarin-speaking children have the relevant knowledge. The results reflect the early availability of adult-like linguistic knowledge of dou-quantification.


Dou-quantification Universal Quantifier Wh-words Child language Mandarin chinese 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Macquarie Centre for Cognitive ScienceMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia

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