Natural Language Semantics

, 16:205 | Cite as

The Question–Answer Requirement for scope assignment

  • Andrea GualminiEmail author
  • Sarah Hulsey
  • Valentine Hacquard
  • Danny Fox
Open Access


This paper focuses on children’s interpretation of sentences containing negation and a quantifier (e.g., The detective didn’t find some guys). Recent studies suggest that, although children are capable of accessing inverse scope interpretations of such sentences, they resort to surface scope to a larger extent than adults. To account for children’s behavioral pattern, we propose a new factor at play in Truth Value Judgment tasks: the Question–Answer Requirement (QAR). According to the QAR, children (and adults) must interpret the target sentence that they evaluate as an answer to a question that is made salient by the discourse.


Language acquisition Negation Scope ambiguities Ambiguity resolution 


Open Access

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Gualmini
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sarah Hulsey
    • 2
    • 3
  • Valentine Hacquard
    • 4
  • Danny Fox
    • 2
  1. 1.Utrecht Institute of LinguisticsOTSUtrechtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Linguistics and PhilosophyMITCambridgeUSA
  3. 3.Linguistics ProgramNortheastern UniversityBostonUSA
  4. 4.Department of LinguisticsUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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