Children’s pragmatic competence in the derivation of conversational implicatures (and Scalar Implicatures in particular) offers an intriguing standpoint to explore how developmental, methodological and purely theoretical perspectives interact and feed each other. In this paper, we focus mainly on developmental and methodological issues, showing that: children from age 6 on are adult-like in the derivation of the Scalar Implicature related to the scalar quantifier some (i.e. they interpret some as some but not all), while children at age 4 and 5 only sometimes reject underinformative-some in a classical Truth Value Judgment Task (Experiment 1). And they do so despite their excellent performance in pragmatic tasks evaluating their competence with the rules of talk exchange, like the Conversational Violations Test (Experiment 4) and the Felicity Judgment Task (Experiment 5). To give children a better chance to reject underinformative-some when all is at stake, we manipulated the experimental design and materials in three different ways: in Experiment 2, we tested the partitive alcuni dei (some of) instead of the bare quantifier qualche (some); in Experiment 3, we attempted to prime the scale <some, all> by making children to judge a correct statement with all before the critical underinformative statement with some; in Experiment 6, we aimed at making children more aware of the ambiguity of some, between its basic meaning (at least some, possibly all) and its strengthened meaning (some but not all). A surprising improvement is recorded in the last experiment, in which the rejection of underinformative-some by 5 year old children rose to 72.5% (contra 42% in Experiment 1). We suggest that children’s low performance with scalar inference might be linked to the interplay of different factors like the development of other general cognitive abilities, such as the ability to change one’s strategy (Shallice, 1982) or to shift one’s perspective (Gopnik & Rosati, 2001), the maturation of the lexicon (Barner & Barchach, 2010), and, especially, their great sensitivity to the task, methodology and material used to test their pragmatic abilities.
Foppolo, F., Guasti, M.T., & Chierchia, G. (2012). Scalar Implicatures in Child Language: Give Children a Chance. LANGUAGE LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT, 8(4), 365-394 [10.1080/15475441.2011.626386].
|Citazione:||Foppolo, F., Guasti, M.T., & Chierchia, G. (2012). Scalar Implicatures in Child Language: Give Children a Chance. LANGUAGE LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT, 8(4), 365-394 [10.1080/15475441.2011.626386].|
|Tipo:||Articolo in rivista - Articolo scientifico|
|Carattere della pubblicazione:||Scientifica|
|Presenza di un coautore afferente ad Istituzioni straniere:||Si|
|Titolo:||Scalar Implicatures in Child Language: Give Children a Chance|
|Autori:||Foppolo, F; Guasti, MT; Chierchia, G|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2012|
|Rivista:||LANGUAGE LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15475441.2011.626386|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01 - Articolo su rivista|