Journal of Psycholinguistic Research

, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 537–556 | Cite as

The Quantificational Domain of dou: An Experimental Study

  • Alan Hezao Ke
  • Samuel David Epstein
  • Richard Lewis
  • Acrisio Pires


Which NP does all associate with in e.g. “The pandas, the children all saw”—the pandas, the children, or both? The intuition of adult Mandarin Chinese native speakers regarding the interpretation of the adverbial quantifier dou ‘all’ remains unclear and controversial, and various incommensurate theories of domain selection have been proposed. These studies may have failed to yield clear results because they used testing materials in which the interpretation of dou is confounded with other principles of NP interpretation (e.g. zhexie xiaohai ‘these children’ is truth-functionally synonymous with ‘all these children’). To address these concerns, we present the first set of experimental studies on adult knowledge and use of syntactic constraints on the quantifier domain of dou. The results support the hypothesis that dou can take one and only one c-commanding NP as its domain, but falsify interesting theoretical accounts that assume a strict locality constraint on dou quantification.


Dou Universal quantification Domain selection Distributive operator Mandarin Chinese 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan Hezao Ke
    • 1
  • Samuel David Epstein
    • 1
  • Richard Lewis
    • 2
  • Acrisio Pires
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of LinguisticsUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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