Conservativity and learnability of determiners

Tim Hunter, Jeffrey Lidz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


A striking cross-linguistic generalisation about the semantics of determiners is that they never express non-conservative relations. To account for this one might hypothesise that the mechanisms underlying human language acquisition are unsuited to non-conservative determiner meanings. We present experimental evidence that 4-and 5-year-olds fail to learn a novel non-conservative determiner but succeed in learning a comparable conservative determiner, consistent with the learnability hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-334
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Semantics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2013


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