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Children's Judgments of Negative Questions

Kazuko Hiramatsu
Language Acquisition
Vol. 11, No. 2 (2003), pp. 99-126
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20011550
Page Count: 28
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Children's Judgments of Negative Questions
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Abstract

In a series of production and grammaticality judgment experiments, I investigated the status of children's non-adult questions with 2 auxiliary verbs, such as What did the smurf didn't buy. Previous studies showed that these questions were produced primarily in negative contexts. In the first part of the study, I tested whether children produce them in positive contexts with contrastive stress. The results confirm that these questions are limited to negative contexts. In the second part, I tested how children judge these questions. If children produce these questions because they have a non-adult grammar, then they should accept these questions. However, the results from 15 children (age 3;11-4;11) show that they produced these questions but judged them unacceptable. I argue that the production of these questions is not the result of a non-adult grammar but rather the result of a performance phenomenon based on incorrect lexical information regarding constituent negation.

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