Children's knowledge of wh-quantification in Mandarin Chinese

Peng Zhou

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Wh-words in Mandarin Chinese exhibit quantificational variability. Aside from a typical interrogative reading, wh-words can also have an existential indefinite reading or a universal reading. Which reading it is depends on the linguistic environments in which they occur. The present study investigates Mandarin-speaking children's sensitivity to the linguistic environments for the noninterrogative use of wh-words: the existential reading and the universal reading. The results show that young children exhibited adultlike sensitivity to the licensing environments for the noninterrogative use of wh-words. Given the difficulty that children may have in using the input data to learn the interpretation of wh-words and the early emergence of this knowledge, we propose that the licensing mechanism for the noninterrogative use of wh-words is innate.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)411-435
    Number of pages25
    JournalApplied Psycholinguistics
    Volume36
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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