1887
Linguistics in the Netherlands 2014
  • ISSN 0929-7332
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9919

Abstract

While Dutch welke ‘which’-questions are structurally ambiguous, number agreement cues can disambiguate them. Despite such agreement cues, children misinterpret object questions as subject questions (Metz et al. 2010, 2012; Schouwenaars et al. 2014). We investigated if adding another cue, specifically, topicality in a discourse context, helps the interpretation of which-questions in two groups of Dutch children (5;5, n = 15 and 8;5, n = 21). Using a referent-selection task, we manipulated number on the verb and postverbal NP to create unambiguous wh-questions. Moreover, the questions were preceded by a discourse which established a topic, relating either to the wh-referent or the postverbal NP referent. Nevertheless, both 5- and 8-year-olds misinterpreted object questions as subject questions, ignoring the number and topicality cues to resolve the (local) ambiguity of which-questions. Our results confirm the effect of a subject-first bias in children’s interpretation of wh-questions. We conclude that topicality, in combination with number agreement, is not strong enough to overrule this subject-first bias.
Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journals/10.1075/avt.31.10str
2014-01-01
2019-12-11
Loading full text...

Full text loading...

References

http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/journals/10.1075/avt.31.10str
Loading
  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Dutch , First language acquisition , object questions , subject-first bias , topicality and wh-questions
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error