Article published in:Experimental Pragmatics/Semantics
Edited by Jörg Meibauer and Markus Steinbach
[Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today 175] 2011
► pp. 79–100
How German children interpret sentences with and without the focus particle only
Our study investigated the abilities of 6-year-old German-speaking children to interpret sentences with and without the focus particle nur (only). We report two experiments: In Experiment 1 the study by Paterson et al. (2003) on English was replicated in German. We found that German-speaking children do not interpret only-sentences target-like. This supports Paterson et al. that children ignore information that is not verbally given. The second experiment investigated children’s pragmatic ability to judge underinformative sentences. The results indicate that children take into account information that is showed on a picture, but not verbally introduced. We argue that children’s performance in Experiment 1 is not caused by an insufficient pragmatic knowledge but rather to its methodological set up.
Published online: 14 April 2011
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