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Children's Interpretation of Japanese Disjunctive "ka": Subject-Object Asymmetry
Hiroyuki Shimada
90-98 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


It has been observed that interpretations of negated disjunction show cross-linguistic variations (Szabolcsi 2002). In English-type languages, the disjunction is interpreted under the scope of negation, which yields a conjunctive interpretation. In contrast, in Japanese-type languages, it cannot be interpreted within the scope of negation and yields a disjunctive interpretation. However, Goro and Akiba (2004) and Komine (2012) show that Japanese children, unlike adults, initially interpret the disjunction in Japanese within the scope of negation when it appears in the object position. The current study displays that Japanese children correctly interpret the disjunction disjunctively when it appears in the subject position, while they incorrectly interpret it conjunctively when it appears in the scrambled object position. This result indicates that Japanese children's interpretation of the disjunction in a simple negative sentence is determined by c-command relation, and that reconstruction is available when children are around age 5.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 5th Conference on Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition North America (GALANA 2012)
edited by Chia-Ying Chu, Caitlin E. Coughlin, Beatriz Lopez Prego, Utako Minai, and Annie Tremblay
Table of contents
Printed edition: $320.00