In this chapter, we review some works on the acquisition of adjectives and present novel experimental data on their interpretation. We interpret these data as suggesting that younger children start by interpreting relative gradable adjectives (GAs henceforth) like tall in a categorical way, i.e., as referring to sets of objects, and only at a later stage they switch to the comparative-like interpretation. We propose that this evolutionary trend can be easily explained within a semantic framework that assumes that relative GAs denote a partial function from individuals to truth-values. We further suggest a parallelism with the phenomenon of scalar implicature computation in children, a phenomenon that has been studied extensively by Gennaro Chierchia, whose valuable contribution extends from semantic theory (Chierchia 2006; Chierchia et al. 2012) to experimental investigation (Chierchia et al. 1998; Chierchia et al. 2001; Chierchia et al. 2004; Foppolo et al. 2012; Panizza et al. 2009). This chapter is organized as follows: after introducing the well-known distinction between intersective and relative adjectives (Section 1.1), we review the major findings in the literature on the acquisition of adjectives (Section 1.2); we then summarize the two major theoretical approaches that have been put forth to analyze the meaning of relative GAs, i.e., the degree-based analysis and the partial function account (Section 1.3). In Section 2, we present the experimental data of two studies and, in the final section, we discuss these results within the partial function approach.

Panzeri, F., Foppolo, F., & Guasti, M. (2013). Acquisition meets comparison: an investigation of gradable adjectives. In I. Caponigro, & C. Cecchetto (a cura di), From Grammar to Meaning: The Spontaneous Logicality of Language (pp. 266-293). Cambridge University Press [10.1017/CBO9781139519328.014].

Acquisition meets comparison: an investigation of gradable adjectives

Panzeri, F
;
Foppolo, F;Guasti, MT
2013

Abstract

In this chapter, we review some works on the acquisition of adjectives and present novel experimental data on their interpretation. We interpret these data as suggesting that younger children start by interpreting relative gradable adjectives (GAs henceforth) like tall in a categorical way, i.e., as referring to sets of objects, and only at a later stage they switch to the comparative-like interpretation. We propose that this evolutionary trend can be easily explained within a semantic framework that assumes that relative GAs denote a partial function from individuals to truth-values. We further suggest a parallelism with the phenomenon of scalar implicature computation in children, a phenomenon that has been studied extensively by Gennaro Chierchia, whose valuable contribution extends from semantic theory (Chierchia 2006; Chierchia et al. 2012) to experimental investigation (Chierchia et al. 1998; Chierchia et al. 2001; Chierchia et al. 2004; Foppolo et al. 2012; Panizza et al. 2009). This chapter is organized as follows: after introducing the well-known distinction between intersective and relative adjectives (Section 1.1), we review the major findings in the literature on the acquisition of adjectives (Section 1.2); we then summarize the two major theoretical approaches that have been put forth to analyze the meaning of relative GAs, i.e., the degree-based analysis and the partial function account (Section 1.3). In Section 2, we present the experimental data of two studies and, in the final section, we discuss these results within the partial function approach.
Capitolo o saggio
Language acquisition; Adjectives; Semantics; Scalar implicatures
English
From Grammar to Meaning: The Spontaneous Logicality of Language
978-110703310-8
Panzeri, F., Foppolo, F., & Guasti, M. (2013). Acquisition meets comparison: an investigation of gradable adjectives. In I. Caponigro, & C. Cecchetto (a cura di), From Grammar to Meaning: The Spontaneous Logicality of Language (pp. 266-293). Cambridge University Press [10.1017/CBO9781139519328.014].
Panzeri, F; Foppolo, F; Guasti, M
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10281/45091
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