On the Acquisition of Implicated Presuppositions: Evidence from French Personal Pronouns
Gélraldine Legendre, Isabelle Barrière, Louise Goyet, and Thierry Nazzi
150-162 (complete paper
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Since Heim (1991), personal pronouns have been analyzed as made up of phi features triggering presuppositions. Sauerland (2008) proposes to adopt Heim's distinction between implicated vs. lexical presuppositions to account for the universal semantic underspecification of 3rd person. As a result, 1st and 2nd person pronouns are analyzed as having lexical presuppositions, respectively of existence of the speaker and hearer, while 3rd person pronouns have only an implicated presupposition of anti-participant. Given Heim's further claim that implicated presuppositions are derived like implicatures and previous results on the delayed acquisition of scalar implicatures, implicated presuppositions are predicted to be hard for children to acquire. 3rd person pronouns in particular should be harder to acquire than 1st and 2nd person pronouns. The experimental results support the proposal that the presuppositional content of person features is lexically encoded for 1st and 2nd person pronouns, but implicated for 3rd person pronouns, and the conclusion that 30-month-old French children have acquired the lexical content of personal pronouns but have difficulty computing presuppositional content.
Selected Proceedings of the 4th Conference on Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition North America (GALANA 2010)
edited by Mihaela Pirvulescu, María Cristina Cuervo, Ana T. Pérez-Leroux, Jeffrey Steele, and Nelleke Strik
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