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The Collective-Distributive and Generic Specific reading of Each and Every in language acquisition Rama Novogrodsky and Tom Roeper Amherst, 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "The Collective-Distributive and Generic Specific reading of Each and Every in language acquisition Rama Novogrodsky and Tom Roeper Amherst, 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Collective-Distributive and Generic Specific reading of Each and Every in language acquisition Rama Novogrodsky and Tom Roeper Amherst, 2012

2 Each  Distributive  More specific Every  More collective  More generic

3 “Each means every single one, but every means them all together”. (H. 8:11ys)

4 The current study  Do children show a bias toward collective reading of both each and every in the first stage of acquisition?  Do they show similar pattern when interpreting each and every in generic/specific contexts?  When do children give adults’ like distinction between each and every ? (what is the adult distinction?)

5 Cognition and language  The cognitive ability to distribute is shown early in children’s development (Avrutin & Thornton, 1994)  When do children link the specific lexical quantifier to their cognitive ability

6 Three experiments  40 English speaking children aged 3:6-7ys were tested in 3 different tasks:  Experiment 1: collective-distributive context.  Experiment 2: generic-specific context - stories.  Experiment 3: generic-specific context - pictures.

7 40 English speaking children AgeNo. of participants 3:6 - 4:510 4:6 - 5:513 5:6 - 6:510 6: Adults~ 80

8 Collective - Distributive  Each child heard 6 stories followed by one question: each or every alternately.  The task was a within subject design.  There was counterbalanced for which quantifier was used first.

9 Six short stories “A boy and a girl had 3 balls: a blue one, a green one, and a red one. The girl grabbed the blue ball, then the red ball, and then the green ball, to see which ball would bounce the best. The boy grabbed all the balls at once because he wanted to give them to his friend”.  Who grabbed every ball? Why?  Who grabbed each ball? Why? Only one of the questions was asked

10 Six short stories “Daniel has 3 dogs: white, brown, and black. His mother took all the dogs for a walk. The next day the dogs were fighting, so his father took the white dog first then the brown dog and then the black dog”.  Who took each dog for a walk? Why?  Who took every dog for a walk? Why? Only one of the questions was asked

11 Distributive (‘Each’ question) … The girl grabbed the blue ball, then the red ball, and then the green ball, to see which ball would bounce the best….  I (7ys): The girl, cause she did not grab all of the balls at once she grabbed each one at a time.  J (3:8ys): The girl, I don’t know. … The next day the dogs were fighting, so his father took the white dog first then the brown dog and then the black dog.  L (4:8ys): The dad because they were fighting.  N (7ys): The dad because they wanted to go for walk.

12 Collective (‘Every’ question)  R (6ys): The boy. He grabbed it to show it to his friends.  L (4:8ys): The one person. Cause he wanted to give it to his friends.  A (6:10): The boy because he wanted to give them to his friend. … The boy grabbed all the balls at once because he wanted to give them to his friend ….

13 Collective (‘Every’ question)  I (7ys): The mother cause it was all the dogs at once, if she took one at a time then the other would get bored.  O (6:6ys): The mother because she wanted them to go for a walk.  S (6:3): The mom because I think every dog need to walk in the morning. …His mother took all the dogs for a walk...

14 Collective (every question)  Both of them. The girl grabbed every ball to see which one would bounce best. The boy grabbed every ball to give to his friend.  Both. Daniel’s mother took every dog at the same time. Daniel’s father also took every dog – not all at the same time, but in succession. Adults gave us also ‘Both’ response for the ‘every’ question

15 Results of the Each questions =

16  Adults interpret each as distributive in 75% of the cases.  Children show developmental trajectory toward this pattern.  At the age of 6:6 – 7ys children performance is adults’ like.  Adults did not give collective interpretation for the each questions. Results of the Each questions

17 Results of the Every questions

18  Adults interpreted every as both collective and distributive.  Children show developmental trajectory toward a collective reading.  May be children at the ages 5;6-6;5 and 6;6-7 understand that the task only allow one response.  However if this was the case their explanations would have indicated something like “The boy because...but it can also be the girl”. Results of the every questions

19 Summary of experiment 1  No bias toward collective or distributive readings at the young age.  Learning effect within the task.  At the ages of 6-7ys children present distributive reading for each similar to the adults preference.

20  Unlike adults, at the age of 6-7ys children were reluctant to give both responses.  Tt this stage every has lost its distributive meaning for children, and it is not till a later stage that they get it back and permit both collective and distributive interpretations for every.  Perhaps they have the distributive meaning of every but they tend to give the collective interpretation due to the characteristic of the task. Summary of experiment 1

21 Generic – Specific  39 children were tested  Each child heard 10 stories: 5 followed by each question and 5 followed by every.  The task was a within subject design.  There was counterbalanced for which quantifier was tested first and each and every were not tested at the same day.

22 Once upon a time, there was a big lake full of turtles. In the morning, the turtles climbed out to sit in the sun. Johnny visited the lake, and he was amazed: the turtles had blue shells. He wondered about that and said to himself: All the turtles in this lake have a blue shell. He looked again, and yes, all the turtles he saw had blue shells. He thought the shells were blue to help them hide in the shady water.  Filler question: what color did the shells have?  Do you think each turtle has a blue shell? Why?  Do you think every turtle has a blue shell? Why? Stories

23 As you already know this boy, Johnny, loves animals and he wants to learn more about them. Once he visited to the fire station and saw four fire dogs, all the same kind of dog. He looked at the dogs and amazingly, the first dog wagged his tail in a strange way up and down! He looked again, and the second dog wagged his tail up and down and so did the third and the fourth dogs.  Filler question: where did Johnny visit?  Do you think each dog can wag his tail up and down? Why? Stories

24 Specific interpretation  K (5;11): Yes. So they can hide in the water.  M (4;04) yes. Because that helps them to hide in the water.  I (6;10) Yes. Maybe the color of the water went into the shell from the holes and the shells turned blue

25 Generic interpretation  A (6;10): No, because some have different color shell.  J (6;05): No, because in real life it doesn’t. The color is usually brown and green. blue  S (6;03) No, because it won’t look good in the color it’s a little silly and it’s kind of silly it’s not good in the water cause other big animals can attack.

26  7 children gave mixed results.  20 children gave generic interpretation for both each and every (9/10 or 10/10 stories).  10 children gave specific interpretation for both each and every (9/10 or 10/10 stories).  1 child gave generic interpretation for every and specific interpretation for each  One child gave the opposite pattern: each = generic, every = specific. Results Adults: each specific 100% every generic 87%

27 Results

28 Generic – Specific a picture task

29 Context: Cats have a tail. But, sometimes in a funny story, they might be different. Does each cat have two tails? 29

30 Does every cat have two tails? ( without a picture)  In a pilot study adults were biased by the picture and interpreted every ~ each 30

31  Elephants have a trunk. But, sometimes in a funny story, they might be different.  Does every elephant have two trunks? (Without a picture)  Adults answered “no”. 31

32 Does each elephant have two trunks?  adults answered “yes” 32

33 Results  17 each = specific, every = generic 2 of them presented the adult bias.  12 presented a generic pattern: Does each cat have two tails? No with a picture.  10 presented a specific pattern Does every elephant have two tails? Yes without a picture.  1 child was excluded form this task.

34 Comparing the results of experiments 1 and 2 AgeColl-DisGen-Spec 3:06Mixed 3:08Mixed 3:08Mixed 4:02Mixed 4:05Mixed 6:08Mixed AgeColl-DisGen-Spec 4:09CEGeneric 4:11CEGeneric 5:00CEGeneric 5:03 Adult Generic 6:00CEGeneric 6:00 Adult Generic 6:01CEGeneric 6:05CEGeneric 6:10 Adult Generic 6:11 Adult Generic AgeColl-DisGen-Spec 4:04 DE specific 4:09 ~Adult Specific 5:06 Adult Specific 5:11 DE Specific 6:05 DEOpposite 6:06 Adult Specific 6:10 DE Specific 7:00 Adult Specific Mixed= Mixed responses CE = Collective reading for each and every DE = Distributive reading for each and every Generic = generic reading for each and every Specific = specific reading for each and every Adult = Collective for every and specific for each Opposite = Collective for each and distributive for every

35 But… also some inconsistency results AgeColl-DisGen-Spec 3:09MixedGeneric 3:11MixedGeneric 4:00MixedGeneric 4:08MixedGeneric 4:09MixedAdult 5:00MixedGeneric 5:01MixedGeneric 5:01MixedGeneric 5:02MixedGeneric 5:04MixedSpecific 5:06MixedGeneric 6:03MixedGeneric 7:00MixedSpecific

36 Open questions  Do children show bias toward one of the interpretations before the age of 3?  When do children grasp (acquire) the inner distributive reading of every (collective)?  Is there a relationship between the collective- distributive and generic-specific reading of each and every in child language development?

37 Roeper, Pearson, Grace (2011) Goals: find an account which A. Captures the semantic distinctions B. Fits syntactic variation between each/every. C. Captures the acqusiition path (C) may be a very serious constraint on the system. (B) may have a significant role in dictating the order in which semantic variations occur Question: will a notion of semantic or syntactic complexity agree with the acquisition path General Problem: Kulikowski (1981) formal semantics of "uh-oh" = > very complex

38 General Sequence: A. Stage 1: no presence of quantifier: I see every boy = I see boy [Kind] a. Some evidence from DELV: Man and three boys=> Picture (a) man plays piano, (b) boys play piano A man saw every boy. He played the piano => children go for (b) when disordered, and younger

39 B. Hypothesis: 1) individuation => Nouns and/or Verb for each/every Then: experience exhaustification = "you didn't pick up every toy" 2) Accommodation or non-accommodation for both = = Fix specificity context for each/every a. Evidence: children do not distinguish each/every at first b. = BOTH are context specific or generic

40 C. Distributivity Operator => applies to sentence = both NOuns, or NOun+ verb = floated binomial each Current Hypothesis: a) The boys picked up each one b) the boys picked up one each (B) => (A) Possibility 1: each as adverb, links to individuated (pluractional) verb Possibility 2: each = Sentential Operator Adult/Child contrast [= related to Suzi Lima's results on partial distributivity] A. Each vase is in a jar = adults prefer one to one/ children prefer collective case

41 Appendix: from Roeper, Pearson, Grace (2011) Cases involving partial distributity [See Suzi Lima’s work] Evidence: children are not assigning complete distributivity here

42 Experimental Results Adults N = 40 etc. Native English speakers Ages 20 to 71 (20+) Residence UK (6), Canada (3) and U.S. (31) Children = 38 Ages 5-9 (most 6-8) Average 7;4 Grade K-3 Middle to lower middle- class school district in western MA

43 A. Every flower is in a vase.

44 B. Each flower is in a vase.

45 C. One flower is in one vase.

46 Overt Spreading: “no, looks like each flower in each vase” “but it still has empty vase; could be C if there was just one flower in each, in all the vases” “flowers in all, each has flowers” “one in each, others have 2 or 3” “flowers in all, each has flowers”

47 Each: 1. Adults:90% prefer B (only 17% say all allright) => prefer distributivity, accept partial 2 Child: reject distributivity 70% Not distributive for most children => reject B 82% 32% show spreading = each object =C 24% = A = collective, no distributivity Verbatims: 13 children articulate spreading 10 articulate distributivity Conclusion: spreading =/= distributivity necessarily only 1/3 associate distributivity with each

48 Adult preferences – Every flower is in a vase.

49 Adult preferences – Each flower is in a vase.

50 Children’s Every (with adult shaded as reference)

51 Children’s Each (with adult shaded as reference)

52 (only) 4 children focused on flowers for every “All the flowers have vases that they’re in.” (5;4) “There are empty vases, [clearly a concern] but where there are flowers, they are in a vase.” (8;1)

53 Most children focused on vases [C], “the only one where vases are filled with flowers” (8;0) “these two vases don’t have flowers” (6;2) “not A or B, no flowers in those two vases” (7;8) “no, two vases empty there” (6;5) “no, the others have empty vases” (6;11) (7;4) (8;4) “no, because some of the vases are empty” (7;9) “not A, only one filled vase” (8;2)

54 Spontaneously SPREAD the quantifier to vases. “[C], it’s the only one with flowers in every vase.” (9;4) “Not B, there’s just one in each [vase]” (6;1) “No, they don’t have flowers in all vases.” (9) (for every flower in a vase), “could be 1 flower in each vase” (9)

55 SPREAD a quantifier to vases even with “each” “looks like each flower is in each vase” (8;0) “all vases are full” (8) “flowers in all [vases]” (7;9) “could be C, if there was just one flower in each, in all the vases” (7;1) “one [flower] in each [vase]” (8;1) “these two vases don’t have flowers” (6;2) “not A or B, no flowers in those two vases” (7;8) ??? Each flower has its own vase?

56 They did not like empty vases. Little concern for distributivity…..

57 (only) 4 children described arrangement for each “B is a little better because it’s spread out” (8;1*) “B – each flower has its own vase.” (9;0) “C has too many flowers; A they’re all in one” (6;5) “Could be C if there was just one flower in each, in all the vases.” (7;1) **(one appealed to config for every—”only C, all in same is wrong; 1 in 1 is wrong”) (7;7)

58 But 14 children didn’t distinguish each and every (either gave same answer, or said “I already told you” when asked why about the second sentence)

59 Each is clearly not distributive for the children (To the extent that it’s confounded with “every” might be more likely exhaustive as well.)

60 Thank you !


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