Natural Language Semantics

, 16:205

The Question–Answer Requirement for scope assignment

  • Andrea Gualmini
  • Sarah Hulsey
  • Valentine Hacquard
  • Danny Fox
Open Access
Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Language acquisition Negation Scope ambiguities Ambiguity resolution 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Gualmini
    • 1
  • 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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