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Bookmark and Share Paper 3239

Syntactic Bootstrapping in the Acquisition of Attitude Verbs: Think, Want and Hope
Kaitlyn Harrigan, Valentine Hacquard, and Jeffrey Lidz
196-206 (complete paper or proceedings contents)

Abstract

This paper tests the role of the syntax in children's acquisition of attitude verbs, probing their understanding of want, think and hope. In English, belief verbs take finite complements, desire verbs take non-finite complements, and hope can occur in both finite and non-finite frame types. Previous studies demonstrate that children are influenced by reality when interpreting think but not want. This paper presents a study looking at four-year-olds' interpretation of want and think; and hope with both a non-finite and a finite complement. The context of the experiment supports either a belief or a desire interpretation. This study replicates asymmetries between think and want; and demonstrates that four-year-olds are sensitive to the frame in which they hear hope, showing that children use syntactic frame when interpreting attitude reports.

Published in

Proceedings of the 33rd West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Kyeong-min Kim, Pocholo Umbal, Trevor Block, Queenie Chan, Tanie Cheng, Kelli Finney, Mara Katz, Sophie Nickel-Thompson, and Lisa Shorten
Table of contents
Printed edition: $375.00