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Department of Cognitive Science

Cogntive Science Alumni

Aijun Huang

Aijun Huang

Thesis Details

Acquisition of polarity-sensitive items in Mandarin Chinese.

The thesis will be divided into two parts. In the first part, I will discuss the theoretical issues involved with three kinds of polarity items in Mandarin Chinese, i.e., the Negative Polarity Item (NPI) renhe 'any', Existential Polarity Wh-phrases (EPW) like shenme 'what' and shei 'who', and Positive Polarity Items (PPI) like jige 'wh-CL' . In particular, the following questions will be covered: i) the comparison of NPI renhe with English NPI any in terms of their licensing conditions; The general issues on polarity dependency will be incorporated in this part. ii) the comparison between NPI renhe, which is consisted of a wh-element he 'what' and an emphatic element ren 'whatever', and EPWs, in terms of their distinct licensing conditions, and distributional and interpretative differences in various contexts. ii) the comparison between EPWs and PPIs, in terms of their distinct polarity dependency and interpretative differences. In the second part, experimental data on Mandarin-speaking children's acquisition of these three types of polarity items will be introduced. Hopefully, the empirical data would have some implications for our theoretical analysis of polarity in Mandarin discussed in the first part.

  • Type: PhD
  • Scholarship : iMQRES
  • Supervisors : Distinguished Professor Stephen Crain and Associate Professor Rosalind Thornton