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Syrett, Kristen; Musolino, Julien – Language Acquisition: A Journal of Developmental Linguistics, 2016
The way in which an event is packaged linguistically can be informative about the number of participants in the event and the nature of their participation. At times, however, a sentence is ambiguous, and pragmatic information weighs in to favor one interpretation over another. Whereas adults may readily know how to pick up on such cues to…
Descriptors: Semantics, Pragmatics, Child Language, Ambiguity (Semantics)
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Syrett, Kristen; Musolino, Julien – Language Acquisition: A Journal of Developmental Linguistics, 2013
Sentences containing plural numerical expressions (e.g., "two boys") can give rise to two interpretations (collective and distributive), arising from the fact that their representation admits of a part-whole structure. We present the results of a series of experiments designed to explore children's understanding of this distinction…
Descriptors: Language Acquisition, Comprehension, Child Language, Preschool Children
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Viau, Joshua; Lidz, Jeffrey; Musolino, Julien – Language Acquisition: A Journal of Developmental Linguistics, 2010
Though preschoolers in certain experimental contexts strongly prefer to interpret ambiguous sentences containing quantified NPs and negation on the basis of surface syntax (e.g., Musolino's 1998 "observation of isomorphism"), contextual manipulations can lead to more adult-like behavior. But is isomorphism a "purely" pragmatic phenomenon, as…
Descriptors: Sentences, Semantics, Syntax, Language Processing
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Conroy, Anastasia; Lidz, Jeffrey; Musolino, Julien – Language Acquisition: A Journal of Developmental Linguistics, 2009
We demonstrate a U-shaped developmental trajectory in the interpretation of scopally ambiguous sentences, with 4-year-olds and adults, but not 5-year-olds, accessing inverse scope. These results argue against any view that treats 5-year-olds failures as resulting from immaturity of a single mechanism. Instead, we propose that this developmental…
Descriptors: Sentences, Figurative Language, Preschool Children, Adults