Advertisement

Journal of Psycholinguistic Research

, Volume 47, Issue 6, pp 1369–1389 | Cite as

The Acquisition of Exhaustive Pairing in Multiple Wh-Questions in Mandarin

  • Jill de Villiers
  • Chunyan Ning
  • Xueman Lucy Liu
  • Yi Wen Zhang
  • Fan Jiang
Article

Abstract

The comprehension of paired wh-questions is examined in child Mandarin, to compare the age of acquisition with that of children speaking European languages like English and German. In Study 1, participants were 734 Mandarin speakers aged 2;6–7;11, drawn from four regions of China. Results reveal a striking parallel between the acquisition of exhaustive answers in Mandarin and that in languages with wh-movement. The significant correlation with children’s exhaustive interpretations of the universal quantifier every (dou) also parallels findings in English. In Study 2, the performance of children (N = 100) identified as having language impairment is compared to that of non-impaired children (N = 130), and the results support the idea that answering these paired wh-questions is a potential semantic deficit in language-delayed children.

Keywords

Wh-questions Acquisition Assessment Mandarin Exhaustivity Semantic deficit 

Notes

Funding

This study was funded by Bethel Hearing and Speech Training Center Inc., Dallas TX.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The first three authors: Drs. de Villiers, Ning and Liu, are authors of the norm-referenced standardized test, the DREAM, and expect royalties from its sales. No conflict exists for authors Zhang and Jiang.

References

  1. Aoun, J., & Yen-Hui, A.-L. (1993). Wh-elements in situ: Syntax or LF? Linguistic Inquiry, 24, 199–238.Google Scholar
  2. Bošković, Ž. (1997). The syntax of nonfinite complementation: An economy approach. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bošković, Z. (2003). On the interpretation of multiple questions. In P. Pica (Ed.), Linguistic variation yearbook 1 (pp. 1–15). Amsterdam: Benjamins.Google Scholar
  4. Cheng, L. L.-S. (1991). On the typology of wh-questions. Doctoral dissertation, MIT, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  5. Cheng, L. L.-S. (2003). Wh-in situ. GLOT International, 7, 103-9 & 129-37.Google Scholar
  6. Cheng, L. L.-S. (2009). Counting and classifiers. Handout distributed at mass/count workshop, University of Toronto.Google Scholar
  7. Citko, B., & Gracanin-Yuksek, M. (2013). Towards a new typology of coordinated wh-questions. Journal of Linguistics, 49, 1–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Comorovski, I. (1996). Interrogative phrases and the syntax–semantics interface. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dayal, V. (1996). Locality in WH quantification: Questions and relative clauses in Hindi. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dayal, V. (2002). Single-pair vs. multiple-pair answers: Wh in situ and scope. Linguistic Inquiry, 33(3), 512–520.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dayal, V. (2005). Multiple wh questions. In M. Everaert & H. van Riemsdijk (Eds.), The Blackwell companion to syntax 3 (pp. 275–327). Malden, MO: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  12. de Villiers, J. G., & Roeper, T. (1993). The emergence of bound variable structures. In W. Abraham & E. Reuland (Eds.), Knowledge and language: Orwell’s problem and Plato’s problem. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic.Google Scholar
  13. de Villiers, J. G., Roeper, T., Bland-Stewart, L., & Pearson, B. (2008). Answering hard questions: Wh-movement across dialects and disorder. Applied Psycholinguistics, 29, 67–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Foryś-Nogala, M., Haman, E., Katsos, N., Krajewski, G., & Schulz, P. (2016). Syntactic, semantic and pragmatic correlates of the acquisition of exhaustivity in wh-questions: A study of Polish monolingual children. Language Acquisition, 24(1), 27–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Grebenyova, L. (2006a). Multiple interrogatives: Syntax, semantics, and learnability. Doctoral dissertation, University of Maryland, College Park, MD.Google Scholar
  16. Grebenyova, L. (2006b). Multiple interrogatives in child language. In D. Bamman, T. Magnistkaia, & C. Zaller (Eds.), Proceedings of the 30th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development [BUCLD 30] (pp. 225–236). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.Google Scholar
  17. Grohmann, K. K. (2002). Multiple wh-fronting and the left periphery: German = Bulgarian + Italian. Georgetown University Theoretical Linguistics, 2, 83–115.Google Scholar
  18. Grohmann, K. K. (2003). German is a multiple wh-fronting language! In C. Boeckx & K. K. Grohmann (Eds.), Multiple wh-fronting (pp. 99–130). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Guasti, M. T. (2002). The growth of grammar. Cambridge, MA: MIT press.Google Scholar
  20. Haegeman, L. (1994). Introduction to government and binding theory. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  21. Hagstrom, P.A. (1998). Decomposing questions. Doctoral dissertation, MIT, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  22. Hagstrom, P. A. (2003). What questions mean. GLOT International, 7/8, 188–201.Google Scholar
  23. Heizmann, T. (2008). Exhaustivität in Spaltkonstruktionen, Fragen und Quantoren bei deutschen und englischen Kindern. Paper presented at Interdisziplinäre Tagung über Sprach-entwicklungsstörungen (ISES 5), University of Mainz.Google Scholar
  24. Heizmann, T. (2012). Exhaustivity in questions and clefts; and the quantifier connection A study in German and English. Amherst: University of Massachusetts.Google Scholar
  25. Huang, C.-T. J. (1982). Logical relations in Chinese and the theory of grammar. Doctoral dissertation, MIT.Google Scholar
  26. Huang, J. C.-T. (1992). On lexical structure and syntactic projection. In Proceedings of IsCll-3, the 3rd international symposium of Chinese languages and linguistics (pp. 263–282). Taipei: Academia Sinica.Google Scholar
  27. Krifka, M. (2001). For a structured meaning account of questions and answers. In C. Fery & W. Sternefeld (Eds.), Audiatur vox sapentia. A Festscrift for Arnim von Stechow (pp. 287–319). Berlin: Akademie Verlag.Google Scholar
  28. Kyuchukov, H., & de Villiers, J. (2014). Roma children’s knowledge on Romani. Voprosyi psicholingvistiki - Journal of Psycholinguistics, 1(19), 58–65.Google Scholar
  29. Leonard, L. B. (2014). Children with specific language impairment (2nd ed.). London: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  30. Li, Y.-H. A. (1992). Indefinite wh in Mandarin Chinese. Journal of East Asian Linguistics, 1, 125–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lin, J.-W. (1996). Polarity licensing and wh-phrase quantification in Chinese. Doctoral dissertation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA.Google Scholar
  32. Lin, J.-W. (1998). On existential polarity wh-phrases in Chinese. Journal of East Asian Linguistics, 7, 219–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Liu, X., de Villiers, J., Ning, C.-Y., Rolfhus, E., Lee, W., Hutchings, T., et al. (2017). Research to establish the validity, reliability and clinical utility of a comprehensive language assessment of Mandarin. Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research, 60(3), 592–606.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Marsden, H. (2008). Pair-list readings in Korean–Japanese, Chinese–Japanese, and Korean–Japanese interlanguage. Second Language Research, 24(2), 189–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Ning, C. Y., Liu, X. L., & de Villiers, J. G. (2014). The diagnostic receptive and expressive assessment of Mandarin. Dallas, TX: Bethel Hearing and Speaking Training Center.Google Scholar
  36. Oiry, M., & Roeper, T. (2009). How language acquisition reveals minimalist symmetry in the wh-system. In K. K. Grohman & P. Phoevos (Eds.), Selected papers from the Cyprus Syntaxfest (pp. 11–28). Cambridge, MA: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.Google Scholar
  37. Pesetsky, D. (1987). Wh-in situ: movement and unselective binding. In E. J. Reuland & A. ter Meulen (Eds.), In the representation of (in)definiteness (pp. 98–129). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  38. Rice, M. L. (2013). Language growth and genetics of specific language impairment. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 15(3), 223–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Roeper, T. (2004). Diagnosing language variations: Underlying principles for syntactic assessment. In H. Seymour & B. Pearson (Eds.), Evaluating language variation: Distinguishing development and dialect from disorder. Seminars in speech and language (Vol. 25, No. 01, pp. 41–55). Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc., New York.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Roeper, T., & de Villiers, J. G. (1991). Ordered decisions in the acquisition of wh-questions. In H. Goodluck, J. Weissenborn, & T. Roeper (Eds.), Theoretical issues in language development. Hillsdale, NY: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  41. Roeper, T., & de Villiers, J. G. (2011). The acquisition path of wh-questions. In J. de Villiers & T. Roeper (Eds.), Handbook of generative approaches to language acquisition (pp. 189–246). Amsterdam: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Roeper, T., Schulz, P., Pearson, B., & Reckling, I. (2007). From singleton to exhaustive: The acquisition of wh. In M. Becker & A. McKenzie (Eds.), Proceedings of the 3rd conference on the semantics of underrepresented languages in the Americas SULA: University of Massachusetts occasional papers in linguistics (pp. 87–10). University of Massachusetts: Amherst, MA.Google Scholar
  43. Rudin, C. (1988). On multiple questions and multiple wh-fronting. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory, 6, 445–501.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Schulz, P., & Roeper, T. (2010). Who answered what to whom? In On children’s understanding of exhaustive wh-questions. “Let the children speak. Learning of critical language skills across 25 languages”, final conference of the COST A33 action, London, UK.Google Scholar
  45. Schulz, P., & Roeper, T. (2011). Acquisition of exhaustivity in wh-questions: A semantic dimension of SLI? Lingua, 121, 383–407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Seymour, H. N., Roeper, T., & de Villiers, J. G. (2001). Dialect sensitive language test (DSLT). San Antonio, TX: The Psychological Corporation.Google Scholar
  47. Strauss, U., Roeper, T., Pearson, B., de Villiers, J., & Seymour, H. (2006). Acquisition of universality in wh-questions. Amherst: University of Massachusetts.Google Scholar
  48. Toft, Z. (2001). Is there ever multiple wh-movement? Evidence from Hungarian. In M. Whong-Barr (Ed.), Durham working papers in linguistics (Vol. 7, pp. 126–144). Durham University: Durham.Google Scholar
  49. Tsai, W.-T. D. (1994). On nominal islands and LF extraction in Chinese. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory, 12(1), 121–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. van der Lely, H. (1998). SLI in children: Movement, economy and deficits in the computational-syntactic system. Language Acquisition, 7, 161–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Van Rooij, R., & Schulz, K. (2004). Exhaustive interpretation of complex sentences. Journal of Logic, Language and Information, 13(4), 491–519.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Wachowicz, K. (1974). On the syntax and semantics of multiple questions. Doctoral dissertation, University of Texas, Austin, TX.Google Scholar
  53. Weissenborn, J., Höhle, B., Penner, Z. (2006). The comprehension of single-member set and multiple-member set questions in 5-year-old German learning children at risk for SLI at the age of 30 months. Results from an interdisciplinary longitudinal study. Paper presented at the COST Action A33 Meeting, Lisbon.Google Scholar
  54. Whitman, N. (2002). Category neutrality: A type-logical investigation. Doctoral dissertation, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH.Google Scholar
  55. Whitman, N. (2004). Semantics and pragmatics of English verbal dependent coordination. Language, 80(3), 403–434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Whitman, N. (2006). The coordinated-wh project. http://literalmindedlinguistics.com/Coord_Wh/home.html.
  57. Williams, E. (1981). Argument structure and morphology. Linguistic Review, 1, 81–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Zhou, P. (2011). Interface conditions in child language: A view from Mandarin Chinese. Language Acquisition, 18(3), 202–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Zhou, P. (2013). Children’s knowledge of wh-quantification in Mandarin Chinese. Applied Psycholinguistics, 36(2), 411–435.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychology and PhilosophySmith CollegeNorthamptonUSA
  2. 2.Institute of LinguisticsTianjin Normal UniversityTianjinChina
  3. 3.Research, Bethel Hearing and Speaking Training Center, Communication Sciences and DisordersUniversity of Texas at DallasDallasUSA
  4. 4.Department of Developmental and Behavioral PediatricsShanghai Children’s Medical Center Affiliated to Medical School of Shanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiChina

Personalised recommendations