The English and Foreign Languages University, India
Investigation of sentences with the universal quantifier every have led to qualitatively different conclusions about children’s linguistic knowledge. The aim of this paper is to investigate the role of task conditions in determining ESL children’s knowledge of universal quantification. The tasks were truth-value judgment tasks designed with different frames to check its felicity abilities. The findings suggest that children’s knowledge of every runs deep and emphasizes on the positive impact of task conditions that yield the most appropriate interpretation. The findings show that even at the earliest stages of language acquisition, as long as the sentences are presented in felicitous discourse contexts, children’s interpretation of universal quantification appears adult-like. The data therefore support the adult-like accounts of children’s acquisition of universal quantification.
Language acquisition, universal quantification, task conditions, felicity, discourse contexts, children’s interpretation