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ERIC Number: EJ1176576
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018
Pages: 28
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1048-9223
Acquisition of the Dutch NPI "Hoeven" 'Need': From Lexical Frames to Abstract Knowledge
Lin, Jing; Weerman, Fred; Zeijlstra, Hedde
Language Acquisition: A Journal of Developmental Linguistics, v25 n2 p150-177 2018
This article aims to investigate how Dutch children may eventually converge on a targetlike distribution of "hoeven" 'need,' a modal verbal NPI (Negative Polarity Item), based on its appearance in the scope of merely some but not all of its possible licensers in the language input (i.e., the induction problem). Imitation performance was obtained from 106 monolingual Dutch children (2;09-5;10; mean = 4;04; SD = 8.5 months) using an elicited imitation task. Results suggest that before age 3, children only accept "hoeven" to appear with either the sentential negation "niet" 'not' or the negative quantifier "geen" 'no.' After age 3, children start developing their knowledge of the licensing of "hoeven" in other negative expressions as well--namely "niemand" 'nobody,' "weinig" 'few,' and "alleen" 'only'--and eventually allow "hoeven" in the scope of these negative words after age 5. Based on these developmental patterns, we assume that children initially analyze "hoeven" as bearing a lexical dependency with either "niet" or "geen", represented by two lexical frames [hoef niet] 'need not' and [hoef geen] 'need no' and that they develop a dependency relationship between the NPI and an abstract negator neg later on, which is realized by an abstract analysis [hoef neg] 'need neg.' Adopting a distribution-based learning approach, we show that the two lexical frames are established based on "hoeven's" overwhelming occurrence with either "niet" or "geen" in the input. As for the development of the abstract analysis, we argue that children's knowledge of syntactic decomposition of negation is of crucial importance. Since [hoef neg] turns out to be the representation of the NPI in late child grammar, we moreover argue that "hoeven" is an NPI, due to its lexical dependency with the abstract negator NEG.
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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
Identifiers - Location: Netherlands
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A