- Binding and quantification in monolingual and bilingual language acquisition
- Award date
- 5 February 2016
- Number of pages
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam Center for Language and Communication (ACLC)
The present dissertation investigates monolingual and bilingual children’s understanding of the interaction between binding and quantifiers. The binding phenomena studied in this thesis pertain to reflexives and pronouns and local antecedents. These antecedents are either referential NP expressions, such as 'the kangaroo', or quantified NP expressions, such as 'every sheep'. The quantifiers that are examined in the present studies are 'all', 'each' and especially 'every' in Dutch and in English.
A new explanation is presented to justify monolingual Dutch and English children’s behaviour on binding tasks. Whereas the standard binding account can only partly explain English children’s performance, the current explanation can account for both the English children’s and the Dutch children’s performance. Monolingual Dutch children are revealed to have a distributive interpretation preference of the quantifiers, while English children prefer the collective reading of 'every'. The present studies show that these children’s diverging quantifier preferences affect their binding performance on sentences containing local quantified NP antecedents.
This new explanation also holds for bilingual children. The studies conducted in this dissertation found that English-Dutch bilingual children differ from their monolingual peers regarding their quantifier interpretation preferences. In line with the proposed explanation, these bilingual children also behave differently from their monolingual peers regarding sentences containing local quantified NP antecedents. Thus, this thesis shows that there is an interaction between children’s understanding of binding phenomena and their preferential quantifier interpretations.
- Research conducted at: Universiteit van Amsterdam
Series: LOT dissertation series 416
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