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Event quantification in the acquisition of universal quantification

William Churchill Houston Philip, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This dissertation is an investigation of how preschool children understand the meaning of determiner universal quantifiers such as English every and all. Although grasping the distributive force of such words, and generally showing adult-like comprehension of simple universally quantified sentences, the typical four-year-old is seen often to have a strikingly nonadult-like understanding of the meaning of such sentences. This is shown by the child's comprehension performance under certain experimental conditions. The principal claim of this dissertation is that the child comprehension phenomena in question is essentially linguistic in etiology and derives from a preference for quantification over individual events/situations rather individual objects.

Subject Area

Linguistics|Developmental psychology|Language arts|Preschool education

Recommended Citation

Philip, William Churchill Houston, "Event quantification in the acquisition of universal quantification" (1994). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9524738.