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The semantic development of negation: a cross-linguistic longitudinal study*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 February 2009

Soonja Choi*
Affiliation:
State University of New York at Buffalo
*
Department of Linguistics, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92182, USA.

Abstract

Negative utterances were collected longitudinally from two English-, five French- and four Korean-speaking children between 1;7 and 3;4. An analysis focusing on both non-verbal context and linguistic form led to the distinction of nine semantic/pragmatic categories which could capture cognitive and linguistic development in some detail: non-existence, prohibition, rejection, failure, denial, inability, epis-temic negation, normative and inferential negation. The nine categories were found in all three languages and their developmental order was similar across the languages. Different patterns were shown concerning the form-function relationship for different categories; for some categories, the distinct form emerged gradually after the function was acquired, while for others, the distinct form emerged simultaneously with the new function. Thus new forms emerged to subdivide an old category or to express a new function. This pattern was most typical for categories developed at later periods. It is suggested that whereas cognitive development precedes language development at an early period, at later periods cognitive and language development interact with each other.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1988

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Footnotes

*

This paper is a revised version of a part of the author's doctoral dissertation. I would like to thank Dr David Zubin, major adviser, and Drs Joan Bybee and Judy Duchan, advisers on the dissertation, for their continuous support for the project and their valuable comments provided throughout the research period. I would also like to thank Lois Bloom, Julie Gerhardt and Alison Gopnik for their valuable criticisms on an earlier version of this paper. The project was partly supported by Doctoral Dissertation Grant # BNS-8405033 from the National Science Foundation.

References

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