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Focus in Child Language: Evidence from the Acquisition of Chinese
Peng Zhou and Stephen Crain
336-346 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


In this study, the authors investigated how Mandarin-speaking children interpret focus expressions like English only. Two experiments were conducted. In the first experiment, the authors found that children tended to associate the presubject focus expression with the verb phrase, whereas adults uniquely associated it with the subject noun phrase. To account for this difference, the authors propose that children initially treat focus expressions like only as an adverbial, and therefore associate them with the verb phrase. In the second experiment, the authors tried to provide empirical support for this hypothesis.

Published in

Proceedings of the 3rd Conference on Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition North America (GALANA 2008)
edited by Jean Crawford, Koichi Otaki, and Masahiko Takahashi
Table of contents
Printed edition: $320.00