In this paper we discuss some data about the acquisition of relative gradable adjectives in order to evaluate two theories that have been proposed to account for the meaning of gradable adjectives, i.e. the degree-based analysis and the partial function approach. We claim that younger children start by assigning a nominal like interpretation to relative gradable adjectives (tall means “with a vertical dimension”), and that only at a later stage, for informativeness reasons, they access the comparative reading (tall means “taller than a standard”). We present and discuss the results of an experimental study in which we aimed at “turning adults into children”. We show that, when informativeness is not at stake, even adults seem to access the nominal interpretation of relative adjectives. We argue that the transition from the nominal to the comparative reading of relative adjectives might be easily accounted for by a partial function approach.

Panzeri, F., Foppolo, F. (2012). Can Children Tell Us Something about the Semantics of Adjectives?. In M. Aloni, F. Roelofsen, G.W. Sassoon, K. Schulz, V. Kimmelman, M. Westera (a cura di), Logic, Language and Meaning - 18th Amsterdam Colloquium on Logic, Languageand Meaning; Amsterdam; Netherlands; 19-21 December 2011 (pp. 170-179). Heidelberg : Springer-Verlag [10.1007/978-3-642-31482-7_18].

Can Children Tell Us Something about the Semantics of Adjectives?

PANZERI, FRANCESCA;FOPPOLO, FRANCESCA
2012

Abstract

In this paper we discuss some data about the acquisition of relative gradable adjectives in order to evaluate two theories that have been proposed to account for the meaning of gradable adjectives, i.e. the degree-based analysis and the partial function approach. We claim that younger children start by assigning a nominal like interpretation to relative gradable adjectives (tall means “with a vertical dimension”), and that only at a later stage, for informativeness reasons, they access the comparative reading (tall means “taller than a standard”). We present and discuss the results of an experimental study in which we aimed at “turning adults into children”. We show that, when informativeness is not at stake, even adults seem to access the nominal interpretation of relative adjectives. We argue that the transition from the nominal to the comparative reading of relative adjectives might be easily accounted for by a partial function approach.
Capitolo o saggio
Semantics of adjectives, language acquisition, experimental semantics and pragmatics
English
Logic, Language and Meaning - 18th Amsterdam Colloquium on Logic, Languageand Meaning; Amsterdam; Netherlands; 19-21 December 2011
978-3-642-31481-0
Panzeri, F., Foppolo, F. (2012). Can Children Tell Us Something about the Semantics of Adjectives?. In M. Aloni, F. Roelofsen, G.W. Sassoon, K. Schulz, V. Kimmelman, M. Westera (a cura di), Logic, Language and Meaning - 18th Amsterdam Colloquium on Logic, Languageand Meaning; Amsterdam; Netherlands; 19-21 December 2011 (pp. 170-179). Heidelberg : Springer-Verlag [10.1007/978-3-642-31482-7_18].
Panzeri, F; Foppolo, F
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10281/29261
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