01/02/2012 Linguistics Mathematics
DOI: 10.1177/0142723711403884 SemanticScholar ID: 145680899 MAG: 2135968942

Explaining children’s over-use of definites in partitive contexts

Publication Summary

Partitive contexts are those in which a set of similar individuals has been introduced, and the speaker needs to refer to one of them. If that referent has not yet been individualized in the context, the only adult-like option is to refer to it with an indefinite. But in such contexts, children have been shown to often produce (illicit) definites. In comprehension, if children are made to identify a referent in a partitive context, they do not always interpret correctly the definiteness clues in the input, and tend to interpret definites as if they were indefinite. This article reviews production and comprehension studies in light of new experimental data, and argues that children’s errors in this type of context are due to processing limitations.

CAER Authors

Avatar Image for Cécile De Cat

Prof. Cécile De Cat

University of Leeds - Professor of Linguistics

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