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Explaining children's over-use of definites in partitive contexts

De Cat, C. (2012) Explaining children's over-use of definites in partitive contexts. First Language, 32 (1-2). pp. 137-150. ISSN 1740-2344

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Partitive contexts are those in which a set of similar individuals has been introduced, and the speaker needs to refer to one of them. If that referent has not yet been individualised in the context, the only adult-like option is to refer to it with an indefinite. But in such contexts, children have been shown to often produce (illicit) definites. In comprehension, if children are made to identify a referent in a partitive context, they do not always interpret correctly the definiteness clues in the input, and tend to interpret definites as if they were indefinite. This paper reviews production and comprehension studies in light of new experimental data, and argues that children’s errors in this type of context are due to processing limitations.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: definiteness, discourse, partitive, processing, uniqueness
Institution: The University of Leeds
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts (Leeds) > School of Modern Languages and Cultures (Leeds) > Linguistics & Phonetics (Leeds)
Depositing User: Dr Cecile De Cat
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2010 13:33
Last Modified: 28 Nov 2014 10:09
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0142723711403884
Status: Published
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Refereed: Yes
Related URLs:
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/10745

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