ERIC Number: ED335888
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1989-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Children's Knowledge of Relative Scope in Chinese.
Chien, Yu-Chin; Wexler, Kenneth
A study investigated how Chinese children and adults interpreted sentences containing universal quantifiers and existential quantifiers. The purpose was to get preliminary evidence on whether Chinese children understand scope relations and whether they know which relations are possible for particular syntactic configurations. Subjects were 192 children in preschools and elementary schools in Taipei, Taiwan aged 3-10 years and 42 students attending National Chengchi University in Taipei. They acted out their interpretations of sentences involving two quantificational noun phrases (NPs). Responses given by children over age 5 showed a parallel with adult scope interpretations when constructions with two objects, one a universal quantifier-NP (Q-NP) and one an existential Q-NP, were examined. While the particular response distributions differed somewhat, all the children's behaviors except one were consistent with the adult syntactic analysis. With sentences involving two universal Q-NPs, child responses did not correspond to adult interpretations. Responses of children and adults also differed somewhat in the case of two existential Q-NPs. It is concluded that children do understand relative scope and have knowledge of the syntactic considerations determining available scope readings. Test sentences and charted results are appended. (MSE)
Descriptors: Age Differences, Child Language, Chinese, College Students, Comparative Analysis, Elementary Education, Foreign Countries, Higher Education, Language Acquisition, Language Processing, Language Research, Linguistic Theory, Preschool Education, Syntax, Uncommonly Taught Languages, Young Children
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Taiwan (Taipei)
Note: In: Papers and Reports on Child Language Development, Number 28, p72-80, Aug 1989. For the proceedings, see FL 019 336.