Ulster University Logo

Children's Knowledge of Free Choice Inferences and Scalar Implicatures

Romoli, Jacopo (2015) Children's Knowledge of Free Choice Inferences and Scalar Implicatures. journal of semantics, 33 (2). pp. 269-298. [Journal article]

[img] Text - Accepted Version

DOI: 10.1093/jos/ffv001


This article presents experimental results showing that 4- and 5-year-old children are capable of drawing free choice inferences from disjunctive statements and from statements containing free choice indefinites, despite not being able to compute inferences of exclusivity for disjunctive statements, or other scalar implicatures. The findings appear to challenge accounts that attempt to unify the two kinds of inferences (Kratzer & Shimoyama 2002; Alonso Ovalle 2005; Fox 2007; Klinedinst 2007; Chemla 2010; van Rooij 2010; Franke 2011; Chierchia 2013). We discuss, however, the compatibility of the child data with a recent approach in the experimental literature, which attributes children's failures to compute scalar implicatures to a difficulty with alternatives (Chierchia et al. 2001; Gualmini et al. 2001; Reinhart 2006; Barner et al. 2011; Singh et al. 2013). Based on the results of two experiments, we propose an explanation for children's selective success on scalar inferences, according to which scalar inferences are generally unproblematic for children, unless they necessitate lexical retrieval of the required alternatives.

Item Type:Journal article
Keywords:scalar implicatures, free choice, alternatives, acquisition
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Communication
Faculty of Social Sciences
Research Institutes and Groups:Institute for Research in Social Sciences
ID Code:34819
Deposited By: Dr Jacopo Romoli
Deposited On:21 Jun 2016 13:10
Last Modified:17 Oct 2017 16:23

Repository Staff Only: item control page