Home > Events > LSLT: Yu'an Yang (LING)
S M T W T F S
 
 
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
 
8
 
9
 
10
 
11
 
12
 
13
 
14
 
15
 
16
 
17
 
18
 
19
 
20
 
21
 
22
 
23
 
24
 
25
 
26
 
27
 
28
 
29
 
30
 
 
 

LSLT: Yu'an Yang (LING)

Time: 
Thursday, April 02, 2020 - 12:30 PM
Location: 
Online: https://umd.zoom.us/j/793474912

 

Do children know WHanything? Acquisition of Mandarin wh-indefinites

Abstract: Unlike English wh-words like “what”, Mandarin wh-words have both an interrogative and an indefinite interpretation, as shown in (1). 

(1)   Xiaoxiao mei chi shenme.
       Xiaoxiao NEG eat what

a.     Interrogative: What didn’t Xiaoxiao eat?
b.     Indefinite: Xiaoxiao didn’t eat anything/much. 

The indefinite interpretation poses a potential challenge for children learning Mandarin, since this interpretation is extremely infrequent in the adult input (less than 3% of all adult uses of wh-words). In this study, we show that 3-year-olds are able to access this interpretation in contexts they have very little exposure to (i.e. with quantificational particle dou, Exp 1) and in contexts they may not have exposure to (i.e. under negation, Exp 2).