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Linguistic Inquiry

Spring 2011, Vol. 42, No. 2, Pages 305-337.
(doi: 10.1162/LING_a_00043)
© 2011 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Competence, Performance, and the Locality of Quantifier Raising: Evidence from 4-Year-Old Children
Article PDF (1.72 MB)
Abstract

We revisit the purported locality constraint on Quantifier Raising (QR) by investigating children's and adults' interpretation of antecedent-contained-deletion (ACD) sentences, where the interpretation depends on the landing site targeted by QR out of an embedded clause. When ACD is embedded in a nonfinite clause, 4-year-old children and adults access both the embedded and the matrix interpretations. When ACD is embedded in a finite clause, and the matrix interpretation is generally believed to be ungrammatical, children and even some adults access both readings. These findings allow for the possibility that the source of QR's reputed locality constraint may instead be extragrammatical, and they provide insight into the development of the human sentence parser.