Lexical aspect and the use of negation by Mandarin-speaking children

Peng Zhou, Stephen Crain, Rosalind Thornton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contribution

Abstract

The present study investigated the relationship between lexical aspect and the use of negation by Mandarin-speaking children. In Mandarin Chinese lexical aspect interacts with negation. Mandarin has two primary negation markers, buand mei (both translated as English not). The two negation markers co-occur with verbs that denote different aspectual relations. Bu occurs with state and activity verbs, but not with accomplishment or achievement verbs, whereas meioccurs with accomplishment, achievement and activity verbs, but not with state verbs. Using a two-choice forced-judgement task, we assessed children's sensitivity to the interaction between lexical aspect and the two negation markers. The results show that children aged 4;7 and older manifested adult-like knowledge of how lexical aspect is conveyed by the two negation markers. Children between 4;0 and 4;5 were less sensitive to this property. Children younger than 4;0 responded at chance.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSelected Proceedings of the 5th Conference on Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition North America (GALANA 2012)
EditorsChia-Ying Chu, Caitlin E. Coughlin, Beatriz Lopez Prego, Utako Minai, Annie Tremblay
Place of PublicationSomerville, MA
PublisherCascadilla Proceedings Project
Pages150-156
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)9781574734638
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventConference on Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition North America (5th : 2012) - Lawrence, KS
Duration: 11 Oct 201213 Oct 2012

Conference

ConferenceConference on Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition North America (5th : 2012)
CityLawrence, KS
Period11/10/1213/10/12

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