Children’s non-adultlike interpretations of telic predicates across languages

Fabienne Martin, Hamida Demirdache, Isabel García del Real, Angeliek van Hout, Nina Kazanina

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    Understanding when a sentence describes an event with an inherent endpoint (a telos) and when the endpoint has to be reached for the sentence to be true is a crucial step in the acquisition of sentence-level semantics.1 The acquisition literature has documented different types of misinterpretations of telic sentences by children, yet a comprehensive analysis of these child interpretations across languages is still lacking. The task is not easy, for, on the surface, these non-adultlike interpretations appear to be scattered and contradictory, defying a unified account. This paper identifies three such patterns of non-adultlike interpretations, with the goal of providing a uniform account for these recurring but seemingly contradictory patterns found in language development.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1447-1500
    Issue number5
    Early online date26-Sep-2020
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26-Sep-2020

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