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ERIC Number: EJ1032364
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Jul
Pages: 29
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0305-0009
Acquisition of the Polarity Sensitive Item "Renhe" "Any" in Mandarin Chinese
Huang, Aijun; Crain, Stephen
Journal of Child Language, v41 n4 p861-889 Jul 2014
The present study investigated Mandarin-speaking children's acquisition of the polarity sensitive item "renhe'"'any" in Mandarin Chinese. Like its English counterpart "any," "renhe" can be used as a negative polarity item (NPI), or as a free choice (FC) item, and both the distribution and interpretation of renhe are governed by the same syntactic and semantic constraints as English any. Using a Truth Value Judgment Task, the present study tested five-year-old Mandarin-speaking children's comprehension of FC "renhe" in sentences containing the modal word "neng" "can," and tested children's comprehension of NPI "renhe" in sentences containing the temporal conjunction "zai"…"zhiqian" "before". Most children demonstrated knowledge of the interpretation of both FC "renhe" and NPI "renhe" despite a paucity of relevant adult input. Like adults, however, Mandarin-speaking children do not use "renhe" frequently in ordinary conversation, due to the availability of alternative colloquial expressions ("wh"-pronouns) that also convey children's intended meanings.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A