The first language acquisition of scalar inferences from -Cocha 'Even' by Korean-speaking children
Author(s)Kang, Soyeon,S.M.Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences.
Mattew A. Wilson.
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This thesis investigates the first language acquisition of scalar inferences from Korean particle -cocha 'even.' Based on the fact that also evokes the same existential inference with even, and that also and even have the same focus scope in Korean, this thesis compares the acquisition of Korean -cocha 'even' with -to 'also' to provide a more elaborated explanation of scalar inference acquisition. Three experiments - one felicity judgement task, and two preference tasks - were conducted to answer the following research questions: i) when Korean-speaking children are able to make scalar inferences from -cocha 'even'; ii) whether Korean-speaking children are able to correctly assign the scope of -to 'also' and -cocha 'even' to the subject or the object; iii) which step of the even scalar inference process causes children's difficulty. As a result, it was found that Korean-speaking children are able to draw existential inferences at the age of 9 to 10, but still have difficulty in making scalar inferences from even. Next, Korean-speaking children had difficulty in correctly assigning the scope of also and even to the subject or the object even though Korean focus particles are not governed by the c-command rule. Additionally, presenting an alternative phrase facilitated children's process of scalar inferences, as the reference-set hypothesis predicts. Finally, children even at the age of 3 and 4 had the cognitive ability to arrange the elements of a set according to probability. In conclusion, children do not have the semantic ability to associate even with 'the lowest probability,' and syntactic ability to find what is focused by even. Consequently, children cannot create a set containing the focused phrase and alternative phrases although they already have the cognitive ability to compute probability and arrange the elements of the set in order of probability.
Thesis: S.M. in Cognitive Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, 2018Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 48-51).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Brain and Cognitive Sciences.