Chapter published in:Studies in Chinese and Japanese Language Acquisition: In honor of Stephen Crain
Edited by Mineharu Nakayama, Yi-ching Su and Aijun Huang
[Language Acquisition and Language Disorders 60] 2017
Logophoric ziji in Mandarin child language
Research on reflexivization in the past two decades has in general converged on a mixed approach, which acknowledges both syntactic conditions of anaphor binding and logophoric considerations (e.g., Reinhart & Reuland 1993; Pollard & Xue 2001; Huang & Liu 2001). However, these analyses differ in where to draw the dividing line between the two functions of the Mandarin reflexive ziji. Following the widely accepted generalization that children’s mastery of the discourse or pragmatic related constraints is observed long after that of the syntactic constraints, this study conducts two experiments to investigate Mandarin-speaking children’s and adults’ logophoric interpretations of sentences with ziji, using a Truth Value Judgment Task, and compares the patterns with their anaphoric interpretations of sentences with ziji. The results show that Mandarin-acquiring preschool children around age 5–6 still have not mastered the interpretations for sentences with logophoric ziji, even though there is only one sentence-internal antecedent. The findings provide clear empirical support for the claim that logophoric binding modulated by discourse/ pragmatic principles indeed takes a longer time for children to acquire than syntactically governed anaphoric binding.
Published online: 24 August 2017
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Chien, Y.-C., Wexler, K. & Chang, H.-W.
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Hestvik, A. & Philip, W.
Huang, C.-T. J. & Liu, C.-S. L.
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Pollard, C. & Xue, P.