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Title: Cross-linguistic patterns in the acquisition of quantifiers
Authors: Katsos, Napoleon
Cummins, Chris
Ezeizabarrena, Maria-Jose
Gavarro, Anna
Kraljevic, Jelena Kuvac
Hrzica, Gordana
Grohmann, Kleanthes K.
Skordi, Athina
De Lopez, Kristine Jensen
Sundahl, Lone
van Hout, Angeliek
Hollebrandse, Bart
Overweg, Jessica
Faber, Myrthe
van Koert, Margreet
Smith, Nafsika
Vija, Maigi
Zupping, Sirli
Kunnari, Sari
Morisseau, Tiffany
Rusieshvili, Manana
Yatsushiro, Kazuko
Fengler, Anja
Varlokosta, Spyridoula
Konstantzou, Katerina
Farby, Shira
Guasti, Maria Teresa
Vernice, Mirta
Okabe, Reiko
Isobe, Miwa
Crosthwaite, Peter
Hong, Yoonjee
Balciuniene, Ingrida
Nizar, Yanti Marina Ahmad
Grech, Helen
Gatt, Daniela
Cheong, Win Nee
Asbjornsen, Arve
von Koss Torkildsen, Janne
Haman, Ewa
Miekisz, Aneta
Gagarina, Natalia
Puzanova, Julia
Andelkovic, Darinka
Savic, Maja
Josic, Smiljana
Slancova, Daniela
Kapalkova, Svetlana
Barberan, Tania
Ozge, Duygu
Hassan, Saima
Chan, Yuet Hung
Okubo, Tomoya
van der Lely, Heather
Sauerland, Uli
Noveck, Ira
Keywords: Language acquisition -- Case studies
Grammar, Comparative and general -- Quantifiers
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: PNAS
Citation: Katsos, N., Cummins, C., Ezeizabarrena, M. J., Gavarro, A., Kraljevic, K. J., Hrzica, G.,...Noveck, I. (2016). Cross-linguistic patterns in the acquisition of quantifiers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113(33), 9244-9249.
Abstract: Learners of most languages are faced with the task of acquiring words to talk about number and quantity. Much is known about the order of acquisition of number words as well as the cognitive and perceptual systems and cultural practices that shape it. Substantially less is known about the acquisition of quantifiers. Here we consider the extent to which systems and practices that support number word acquisition can be applied to quantifier acquisition and conclude that the two domains are largely distinct in this respect. Consequently, we hypothesize that the acquisition of quantifiers is constrained by a set of factors related to each quantifier’s specific meaning. We investigate competence with the expressions for ‘all’, ‘none’, ‘some’, ‘some ... not’ and ‘most’ in 31 languages, representing 11 language types, by testing 768 5-year-old children and 536 adults. We found a cross-linguistically similar order of acquisition of quantifiers, explicable in terms of four factors relating to their meaning and use. In addition, exploratory analyses reveal that language- and learner-specific factors, such as negative concord and gender, are significant predictors of variation.
Description: This research was funded by European Cooperation in Science and Technology Action A33 “Cross-Linguistically Robust Stages of Children’s Linguistic Performance.” In addition, N.K., C.C., and I.N. were supported by the European Science Foundation Euro-XPrag Network; N.K., C.C., and N.S. were supported by the United Kingdom Economic and Social Research Council XPrag-UK Network; N.K. was supported by United Kingdom British Academy Grant SG090676; A.G. was supported by Spanish Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad Project FFI2014-56968-C4-1; A.G. and K.K.G. were supported by University of Cyprus Project 8037-61017; K.J.d.L. and L.S. were supported by Danish Council for Independent Research (Humanities) Grant 09-063957; M. Vija and S.Z. were supported by Estonian Science Foundation Grant ETF7492 and Estonian Research Council Grant SF0180056s08; K.Y. and U.S. were supported by European Commission for Education and Culture Grant 135295-LLP-2007-UK-KA1SCR and German Federal Ministry of Education and Research Grant 01UG0711; A.A. and J.v.K.T. were supported by a grant from the L. Meltzers Høyskolefond; E.H. and A.M. were supported by Grant 809/N-COST/2010/0 from the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education and National Science Centre; and D.A., M.S., and S.J. were supported by Grant ON179033 (2011-2014) from the Serbian Ministry of Education, Science, and Technological Development.
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