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Children’s scope interpretation of doubly quantified sentences and the problem of isomorphism Katalin É. Kiss & Tamás Zétényi Research.

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Presentation on theme: "Children’s scope interpretation of doubly quantified sentences and the problem of isomorphism Katalin É. Kiss & Tamás Zétényi Research."— Presentation transcript:

1 Children’s scope interpretation of doubly quantified sentences and the problem of isomorphism Katalin É. Kiss & Tamás Zétényi Research Institute for Linguistics of the Hungarian Academy of sciences

2 The problem (1) Every horse didn’t jump over the fence. a.’Every horse is such that it didn’t jump over the fence.’ every > not b.’It is not the case that every horse jumped over the fence.’not > every (2) Donald didn’t find two guys. a. ’There are 2 guys are that Donald didn’t find.’ 2>not b. ’It is not the case that Donald found 2 guys.’ not>2

3 Musolino (1998): children’s scope interpretation is isomorphic. Why? Isomorphism with linear order or c-command? Lidz & Musolino (2002): In left-branching Kannada, wide scope assigned to rightmost operator  isomorphism with structural hierarchy

4 Explanations of observed isomorphism: 1. A grammatical epiphenomenon Musolino (1998): children cannot yet generate the complex structures that correspond to non- isomorphic interpretations. Semantic Subset Principle (Crain&Thornton 1998) children initially make the assumption that allows the narrower range of options  all quantifiers are interpreted in situ

5 Explanations of observed isomorphism: 2.Isomorphism as consequence of parsing difficulties Musolino & Lidz (2003, 2006), Gualmini (2004): children can access non-isomorphic readings if they are supported by the context. Musolino & Lidz: scopal ambiguity = garden-path situation, requiring the revision of the initial interpretation

6 the default strategy of interpretation is the assumption of isomorphism the default strategy of interpretation is the assumption of isomorphism; it is surface scope that is statistically most common (cf. Gennari & MacDonald 2005/2006), and the interpretation of which is least costly cognitively and computationally.


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