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Week 14. Acquisition of semantics GRS LX 700 Language Acquisition and Linguistic Theory

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Acquisition of semantics Relatively recently, there has been an increased interest in the acquisition of semantics. Relatively recently, there has been an increased interest in the acquisition of semantics. Overuse of the. Overuse of the. Limited scope ambiguity? Limited scope ambiguity? Some of the hardest stuff to imagine how you’d learn from the input. Some of the hardest stuff to imagine how you’d learn from the input.

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Maximality (Wexler 2003) Karmiloff-Smith (1979) Karmiloff-Smith (1979) French determiners French determiners Experimental setup: Experimental setup: Ask the girl to lend you that. Ask the girl to lend you that. Lend me a book. Lend me the bottle. Lend me a book. Lend me the bottle. Girl-doll’s room Boy-doll’s room 1 blue book 3 books (each a different color) 3 multicolored balls 1 multicolored ball 1 bottle 1 car

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Maximality (Wexler 2003) Karmiloff-Smith (1979) Karmiloff-Smith (1979) French determiners French determiners Similar results obtain for English Similar results obtain for English Age Type of D Singleton Sev. Ident. 3def6248 indef03 6def9256 indef844 9def1000 indef0100

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Egocentricity? Maratsos 1976, Karmiloff-Smith 1979. Observed and supposed that this might be due to an inability of the child to take the listener’s point of view. Maratsos 1976, Karmiloff-Smith 1979. Observed and supposed that this might be due to an inability of the child to take the listener’s point of view. What does the mean? What does the mean? Presupposes existence and uniqueness. Use it when you can. Else: a. Presupposes existence and uniqueness. Use it when you can. Else: a. Also: maximal (the books). Also: maximal (the books).

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Making noise Once there was a lady. She had lots of girls and boys, about four girls and three boys. They were very noisy, and they kept her awake all the time. One night she went to bed. She told them to be very quiet. She said, ‘If anyone makes any noise, they won’t get any breakfast tomorrow.’ Then she went to bed. But do you know what happened? One of them started laughing and giggling. Now let’s see, there were four girls and three boys. Who was laughing and giggling like that? Once there was a lady. She had lots of girls and boys, about four girls and three boys. They were very noisy, and they kept her awake all the time. One night she went to bed. She told them to be very quiet. She said, ‘If anyone makes any noise, they won’t get any breakfast tomorrow.’ Then she went to bed. But do you know what happened? One of them started laughing and giggling. Now let’s see, there were four girls and three boys. Who was laughing and giggling like that? 4-year olds. The boy. About 58% of the time. 4-year olds. The boy. About 58% of the time.

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Not intent to refer but uniqueness Wexler proposes that definite error arise from kids not observing the Maximality presupposition in their lexical entry for the. Wexler proposes that definite error arise from kids not observing the Maximality presupposition in their lexical entry for the. So, the book is fine even if it isn’t unique. So, the book is fine even if it isn’t unique.

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Ko, Ionin, Wexler (2004) Interestingly, it seems that this might also be at work in L2 acquisition. Interestingly, it seems that this might also be at work in L2 acquisition. L2’ers are known to have trouble with articles. But this is not going to be explained by cognitive development. L2’ers are known to have trouble with articles. But this is not going to be explained by cognitive development.

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Partitive contexts One of them started laughing and giggling. One of them started laughing and giggling. The boy. The boy. Wexler 2003: the X = ‘one of the X’ Wexler 2003: the X = ‘one of the X’ So, expect overuse in partitive contexts. So, expect overuse in partitive contexts.

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Ko, Ionin, Wexler (2004) They tested 20 L1 Korean speakers. They tested 20 L1 Korean speakers. Partitive context: Partitive context: Elissa: How is your nephew Aaron doing? He is such a nice little boy! Elissa: How is your nephew Aaron doing? He is such a nice little boy! Robert: He has some good news—his parents finally allowed him to get a pet—just one! So last week, he went to our local pet shop. This pet shop had five puppies and seven kittens, and Aaron loved all of them. But he could get only one! Robert: He has some good news—his parents finally allowed him to get a pet—just one! So last week, he went to our local pet shop. This pet shop had five puppies and seven kittens, and Aaron loved all of them. But he could get only one! Elissa: Oh, so what did he do? Elissa: Oh, so what did he do? Robert: Well, it was difficult for him to make up his mind. But finally, he got (a, the, —) puppy. Aaron went home really happy. Robert: Well, it was difficult for him to make up his mind. But finally, he got (a, the, —) puppy. Aaron went home really happy.

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Ko, Ionin, Wexler (2004) Non-partitive context: Non-partitive context: Elissa: How is your nephew Joey doing? He is such a nice boy! Elissa: How is your nephew Joey doing? He is such a nice boy! Robert: Well, he was a bit depressed the last few days. So, his parents decided to get him a pet. So last week, he went to our local pet ship. Robert: Well, he was a bit depressed the last few days. So, his parents decided to get him a pet. So last week, he went to our local pet ship. Elissa: Oh, so did he buy some animal there? Elissa: Oh, so did he buy some animal there? Robert: No, he did not like the puppies in the pet shop, in fact. But then he was walking home and he found (a, the, —) kitten in the street! So now he has a new pet after all! Robert: No, he did not like the puppies in the pet shop, in fact. But then he was walking home and he found (a, the, —) kitten in the street! So now he has a new pet after all!

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Ko, Ionin, Wexler (2004) And indeed… (Overuse of the with indefinites) And indeed… (Overuse of the with indefinites)

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Acquisition of semantics Another popular topic in the study of the acquisition of semantics is quantifiers. Another popular topic in the study of the acquisition of semantics is quantifiers. One popular topic has been investigating children’s knowledge of sentences like: One popular topic has been investigating children’s knowledge of sentences like: The guy didn’t deliver two pizzas. The guy didn’t deliver two pizzas. For adults, this can mean: For adults, this can mean: There are 2 pizzas that the guy didn’t deliver There are 2 pizzas that the guy didn’t deliver (E.g., after delivering the rest of his pizzas, he had 2 left) (E.g., after delivering the rest of his pizzas, he had 2 left) It’s not the case that the guy delivered 2 pizzas It’s not the case that the guy delivered 2 pizzas (E.g., he delivered 4 pizzas, or 1) (E.g., he delivered 4 pizzas, or 1)

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QR The availability of the two readings is generally accounted for in terms of Quantifier Raising (QR): The availability of the two readings is generally accounted for in terms of Quantifier Raising (QR): A quantificational DP moves (covertly) to adjoin to the IP. A quantificational DP moves (covertly) to adjoin to the IP. If there are two quantificational DPs, they can do this adjunction in either order. If there are two quantificational DPs, they can do this adjunction in either order. A student read every book. A student read every book. [a student] k [every book] i [t k read t j ] [a student] k [every book] i [t k read t j ] [every book] i [a student] k [t k read t j ] [every book] i [a student] k [t k read t j ] The relative structural positions determine their relative scope unambiguously. The relative structural positions determine their relative scope unambiguously. [Not] k [2 pizzas] i [The guy did t i deliver t k ] [Not] k [2 pizzas] i [The guy did t i deliver t k ] [2 pizzas] i [Not] k [The guy did t i deliver t k ] [2 pizzas] i [Not] k [The guy did t i deliver t k ]

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Musolino’s (2000) OOI Musolino (2000) found that kids seem not to reverse scope relations found in the surface form (the Observation of Isomorphism). Musolino (2000) found that kids seem not to reverse scope relations found in the surface form (the Observation of Isomorphism). Every horse didn’t jump over the fence. Every horse didn’t jump over the fence. The detective didn’t find some guys The detective didn’t find some guys The smurf didn’t buy every orange. The smurf didn’t buy every orange.

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Musolino & Lidz (2002) The detective didn’t find 2 guys. The detective didn’t find 2 guys. TVJT: Dramatic preference on the part of kids (4yo) for the surface scope. TVJT: Dramatic preference on the part of kids (4yo) for the surface scope. Linear order? Linear order? Or structure (c-command?) Or structure (c-command?) Tested kids on the same thing in Kannada (where negation is at the end). Same result: It’s c-command that matters. Tested kids on the same thing in Kannada (where negation is at the end). Same result: It’s c-command that matters. For a while, this was thought to be an aspect of children’s competence. Their grammar, e.g., lacked QR. For a while, this was thought to be an aspect of children’s competence. Their grammar, e.g., lacked QR.

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Gualmini (2003) By manipulating the context, however, Gualmini (2003) showed that kids could access the “inverse scope” interpretation. It just has to do what would be a sensible/felicitous thing to say. By manipulating the context, however, Gualmini (2003) showed that kids could access the “inverse scope” interpretation. It just has to do what would be a sensible/felicitous thing to say. Grover orders 4 pizzas from the Troll, who supposed to deliver them all to Grover. But the Troll drives too fast and loses 2. Grover orders 4 pizzas from the Troll, who supposed to deliver them all to Grover. But the Troll drives too fast and loses 2. The Troll didn’t deliver some pizzas.90% accept The Troll didn’t deliver some pizzas.90% accept The Troll didn’t lose some pizzas.50% accept The Troll didn’t lose some pizzas.50% accept One points out a discrepancy between the expectations and what actually happened, one doesn’t. One points out a discrepancy between the expectations and what actually happened, one doesn’t.

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Hulsey, Hacquard, Fox, & Gualmini (2004) The Question-Answer Requirement on TVJ tasks: The test sentence must be understood as an answer to the “question under discussion.” The Question-Answer Requirement on TVJ tasks: The test sentence must be understood as an answer to the “question under discussion.” Will the Troll deliver all of the pizzas? Will the Troll deliver all of the pizzas? Yes (the Troll will deliver them all) Yes (the Troll will deliver them all) No (the Troll will not deliver them all) No (the Troll will not deliver them all) #There are some pizzas delivered by the Troll. #There are some pizzas delivered by the Troll. “Isomorphism” isn’t even really a default. “Isomorphism” isn’t even really a default. Tested passives (when compared to actives, teases apart isomorphism and QAR): Tested passives (when compared to actives, teases apart isomorphism and QAR): Some pizzas were not delivered.94% (adult 100%) Some pizzas were not delivered.94% (adult 100%) Some pizza were not lost.43% (adult 93%) Some pizza were not lost.43% (adult 93%)

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Kids and QR, Lidz et al. (2003) (BUCLD 28) More direct test of whether kids have QR by looking at constructions where QR is necessary in order to get the right interpretation. (BUCLD 28) More direct test of whether kids have QR by looking at constructions where QR is necessary in order to get the right interpretation. Quantifier-variable binding Quantifier-variable binding Kermit kissed every dancer before she went on stage Kermit kissed every dancer before she went on stage Antecedent-Contained Deletion (ACD) Antecedent-Contained Deletion (ACD) Miss Red jumped over every frog that Miss Black did. Miss Red jumped over every frog that Miss Black did. (Also: Syrett & Lidz submitted) (Also: Syrett & Lidz submitted)

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Quantifier-variable binding Subject QNP (QR not necessary) Subject QNP (QR not necessary) Every dancer kissed Kermit before she went on stage. Every dancer kissed Kermit before she went on stage. Object QNP (QR required) Object QNP (QR required) Kermit kissed every dancer before she went on stage. Kermit kissed every dancer before she went on stage. Kids about 4;6. Acted like adults, yes where yes was required, no where no was required. Kids about 4;6. Acted like adults, yes where yes was required, no where no was required.

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ACD VP ellipsis involves interpreting an “empty VP” as a copy of the “audible VP” (or leaving an identical VP unpronounced). VP ellipsis involves interpreting an “empty VP” as a copy of the “audible VP” (or leaving an identical VP unpronounced). John bought a tape and Mary did too. John bought a tape and Mary did too. ACD: the elided VP is inside the audible one. ACD: the elided VP is inside the audible one. MR jumped over every frog that MB did. MR jumped over every frog that MB did. Audible: jumped over every frog that MB did [VP] Audible: jumped over every frog that MB did [VP] Elided: jumped over … what? Elided: jumped over … what? Infinite regress: MR jumped over every frog that MB jumped over every frog that MB jumped over every frog that… Infinite regress: MR jumped over every frog that MB jumped over every frog that MB jumped over every frog that… QR solves the problem, though: QR solves the problem, though: [Every frog that MB [jumped over t]] i MR [jumped over t i ]. [Every frog that MB [jumped over t]] i MR [jumped over t i ].

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ACD MB jumped over every frog that MR did MB jumped over every frog that MR did QR: relative clause reading QR: relative clause reading No QR: coordinated reading? No QR: coordinated reading? MB jumped over every frog and MB did too. MB jumped over every frog and MB did too. Kids about 4;5 act basically like adults. Kids about 4;5 act basically like adults. So, they must have QR. Whatever OOI is about, it isn’t about kids lacking QR from their grammar. So, they must have QR. Whatever OOI is about, it isn’t about kids lacking QR from their grammar.

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Musolino & Lidz (2003) Adults can be made to act like kids with respect to isomorphism too, in fact. Adults can be made to act like kids with respect to isomorphism too, in fact. Cookie Monster didn’t eat two slices of pizza. Cookie Monster didn’t eat two slices of pizza. Try a context where both interpretations are true… Try a context where both interpretations are true… E.g.: CM gets 3, but eats 1. E.g.: CM gets 3, but eats 1. …justifications given seemed to be isomorphic (75% vs. 7.5% reverse, the rest unclear). …justifications given seemed to be isomorphic (75% vs. 7.5% reverse, the rest unclear).

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Musolino & Lidz (2003) Two frogs didn’t jump over the rock Two frogs didn’t jump over the rock Four frogs decide to jump over a rock, and two end up jumping whereas the other two end up not jumping. Four frogs decide to jump over a rock, and two end up jumping whereas the other two end up not jumping. Wide: True. Narrow: False. Wide: True. Narrow: False. Two frogs attempting to jump over a rock. One ends up jumping and the other one does not. Two frogs attempting to jump over a rock. One ends up jumping and the other one does not. Wide: False. Narrow: True. Wide: False. Narrow: True. Accepted narrow scope reading only 27% of the time, justifications: wide scope is false. Accepted narrow scope reading only 27% of the time, justifications: wide scope is false. Condition 2: Two frogs jumped over the fence but two frogs didn’t jump over the rock. Up to 92% acceptance. Condition 2: Two frogs jumped over the fence but two frogs didn’t jump over the rock. Up to 92% acceptance.

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Entailments E.g., Minai, Meroni, & Crain (2004): E.g., Minai, Meroni, & Crain (2004): John has a black dog > John has a dog John has a black dog > John has a dog Every boy has a black dog > Every boy has a dog Every boy has a black dog > Every boy has a dog Nobody has a black dog < Nobody has a dog Nobody has a black dog < Nobody has a dog Every black dog caught a cicada < Every dog caught a cicada Every black dog caught a cicada < Every dog caught a cicada Nobody caught every black dog > Nobody caught every dog Nobody caught every black dog > Nobody caught every dog Can be used as an argument for an innateness hypothesis vs. constructional analogy. Can be used as an argument for an innateness hypothesis vs. constructional analogy. Kids (mean 4;10), 95% on #2. 90% on #4. 89% on #5. Kids (mean 4;10), 95% on #2. 90% on #4. 89% on #5. Nobody could feed every (big) koala bear Nobody could feed every (big) koala bear Notice that this is a bit early—weren’t Chien & Wexler (1990) relying on kids’ inability to do quantifiers? Notice that this is a bit early—weren’t Chien & Wexler (1990) relying on kids’ inability to do quantifiers?

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