Chapter published in:Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Vietnamese Linguistics
Edited by Nigel Duffield, Trang Phan and Tue Trinh
[Studies in Language Companion Series 211] 2019
► pp. 215–240
Vietnamese children’s interpretation of definite noun phrases
Most work on the acquisition of definiteness examines languages with definite determiners and grammaticalised number, and finds slower acquisition of definiteness compared to number. We replicate an act-out task from Munn et al. (2006) testing comprehension of definites in Vietnamese – a language with neither of these characteristics. In contrast to the results from English and Spanish children, Vietnamese children are found to make few definiteness errors, instead struggling with number, casting doubt on a universal difficulty with definiteness. We argue that this difference stems from the way in which children integrate information from number and definiteness. Given a high level of task difficulty, children acquiring languages with definite determiners and grammatical number, such as English and Spanish, sacrifice definiteness in favour of number, while those acquiring Vietnamese prioritise definiteness, resulting in number errors.
Keywords: definite noun phrases, number, definiteness, plurality, pluralisers, classifiers, Vietnamese, classifier languages, first language acquisition, act out task
Published online: 09 October 2019
Barner, David, Thalwitz, Dora, Wood, Justin, Yang, Shu-Ju, & Carey, Susan
Bùi, Mạnh Hùng
Cao, Xuân Hạo
De Cat, Cécile
Drozd, Kenneth F.
Fenson, Larry, Dale, Philip S., Reznick, J. Stephen, Bates, Elizabeth, Thal, Donna J., Pethick, Stephen J., Tomasello, Michael, Mervis, Carolyn B., & Stiles, Joan
Gandour, Jack, Petty, Soranee Holasuit, Dardarananda, Rochana, Dechongkit, Sumalee, & Mukngoen, Sunee
Kim, Chae-Eun, O’Grady, William, & Deen, Kamil
Kouider, Sid, Halberda, Justin, Wood, Justin, & Carey, Susan
Lê, Ni La & Schmitt, Cristina
2016 Plurality in classifier languages: A view from Vietnamese pluralizers. In Proceedings of the Forty-second Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society (BLS) 42, Emily Clem, Virginia Dawson, Alice Shen, Amalia Horan Skilton, Geoff Bacon, Andrew Cheng & Erik Hans Maier (eds), 153–174. Berkeley CA: BLS.
Lê, Ni-La, Forsythe, Hannah, & Schmitt, Cristina
Li, Peggy, Ogura, Tamiko, Barner, David, Yang, Shu-Ju, & Carey, Susan
Mervis, Carolyn B. & Johnson, Kathy E.
Modyanova, Nadya & Wexler, Kenneth
Munn, Alan, Miller, Karen & Schmitt, Cristina
Munn, Alan, Zhang, Xiaofei, & Schmitt, Cristina
Nakano, Nao, Park, Hye-Sun, & Schmitt, Cristina
Nguyễn, Tài Cẩn
Nguyễn, Thị Ly Kha
Nguyen, Tuong Hung
Schaeffer, Jeannette & Matthewson, Lisa
Thompson, Lawrence C.
Tse, Shek Kam, Li, Hui, & Leung, Shing On
Uchida, Nobuko & Imai, Mutsumi
2006 Chinese -men and associative plural. Presented at the International Conference on East Asian Linguistics, University of Toronto, Canada.