When OR is conjunctive in child Mandarin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


According to a recent proposal, children license a conjunctive inference for statements with disjunction even without a licensing expression that adults require, e.g., the deontic modal verb is allowed to (Singh, Wexler, Astle, Kamawar, & Fox, 2016; Tieu et al., 2017). However, the rates of children's conjunctive inferences vary considerably across studies, which may be due to the different experimental tasks and materials. Using a Truth Value Judgment Task (Crain & Thornton, 1998), the present study systematically investigated children's interpretation of disjunctive sentences with and without a deontic modal verb. It was found that children computed conjunctive inferences only in sentences with the deontic modal verb. We discuss the possible reasons for the varying findings of children's interpretation of disjunction in previous studies.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThree streams of generative language acquisition research
EditorsTania Ionin, Matthew Rispoli
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9789027262882
ISBN (Print)9789027202246
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019
EventGenerative Approaches to Language Acquisition North America Conference (7th : 2016) - University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, United States
Duration: 8 Sep 201610 Sep 2016

Publication series

NameLanguage Acquisition and Language Disorders
ISSN (Print)0925-0123
ISSN (Electronic)2213-428X


ConferenceGenerative Approaches to Language Acquisition North America Conference (7th : 2016)
CountryUnited States


  • free choice inferences
  • disjunction
  • child language acquisition

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    Huang, D., Thornton, R., & Crain, S. (2019). When OR is conjunctive in child Mandarin. In T. Ionin, & M. Rispoli (Eds.), Three streams of generative language acquisition research (pp. 125-142). (Language Acquisition and Language Disorders; Vol. 63). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company. https://doi.org/10.1075/lald.63.07hua