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Linguistic Diversity and Social Justice

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Language Evolution: The Windows Approach

By Rudolf Botha

Language Evolution: The Windows Approach addresses the question: "How can we unravel the evolution of language, given that there is no direct evidence about it?"


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Academic Paper


Title: What Hinders Child Semantic Computation: Children's Universal Quantification and the Development of Cognitive Control
Author: Utako Minai
Institution: University of Kansas
Author: Nobuyuki Jincho
Institution: RIKEN Brain Science Institute
Author: Naoto Yamane
Institution: RIKEN Brain Science Institute
Author: Reiko Mazuka
Institution: Duke University
Linguistic Field: Cognitive Science; Language Acquisition
Subject Language: Japanese
Abstract: Recent studies on the acquisition of semantics have argued that knowledge of the universal quantifier is adult-like throughout development. However, there domains where children still exhibit non-adult-like universal quantification, and arguments for the early mastery of relevant semantic knowledge do not explain what causes such non-adult-like interpretations. The present study investigates Japanese four- and five-year-old children's atypical universal quantification in light of the development of cognitive control. We hypothesized that children's still-developing cognitive control contributes to their atypical universal quantification. Using a combined eye-tracking and interpretation task together with a non-linguistic measure of cognitive control, we revealed a link between the achievement of adult-like universal quantification and the development of flexible perspective-switch. We argue that the development of cognitive control is one of the factors that contribute to children's processing of semantics.

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This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 39, Issue 5, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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