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Functional categories

Closed class words and morphemes that encode properties such as tense, plurality, definiteness, quantity and degree are generally frequent in the input, but their semantic properties are not obviously discerned from the context.  Their frequency makes learning their syntactic distributions quite simple, but the opacity of their meanings makes learning their semantic properties postentially difficult.  Currently we are interested in the following questions:

  • How do children learn the meanings of the plural morpheme in various languages (English, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguses,Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Korean)?
  • How do children learn the meaning of the definite determiner in English and Spanish?
  • How do children learn the presuppositions and implicatures?
  • How do children learn comparatives?
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