In this paper, we investigated how Mandarin-speaking children and adults understand the scope relation between the universal quantifier and negation in sentences like Mei-pi ma dou meiyou tiaoguo liba 'Every horse didn't jump over the fence' and Bushi mei-pi ma dou tiaoguo-le liba 'Not every horse jumped over fence'. We found that Mandarin-speaking children accepted these two types of sentences in both the surface scope and the inverse scope scenarios, whereas Mandarin-speaking adults only permitted them in the surface scope scenarios. The findings of this study, combined with previous research with English-speaking children, invite the conclusion that children start off with a flexible scope relation between the universal quantifier and negation. Children's grammar allows flexibility in the mappings between syntax and semantics.
|Number of pages||16|
|Publication status||Published - Jul 2009|