AuthorDrozd, Kenneth Francis.
Committee ChairOehrle, Richard
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation is a developmental investigation of early child English negative constructions using 'no' and 'not' in an interpreted Unification Categorial Grammar (UCG). We ask (1) What is the developmental relationship between adult and child negative utterances? (2) What is the optimal characterization of the developmental correspondence between formal grammatical negative structures and their interpretive uses? and (3) How can the temporal dynamics of this developmental correspondence between form and use be rationally accounted for? A discourse analysis of child English negation reveals that young children like adult speakers use 'no' neither as a suppletive alternant for 'not' nor as an auxiliary, as is commonly assumed. Nor is the common assumption that young children use 'not' solely as a sentence negation operator true. Young children use 'no' either as a determiner in descriptive colloquial negative nps and copular np predicates, or as a metalinguistic exclamatory negation operator. 'Not' is a polycategorial negative operator used in both colloquial negatives and (internal) sentence negation. We argue that the child negation system is highly similar to the adult colloquial negation system. We present a colloquial negation fragment in which we treat the interpretation of colloquial negation as a function of model structure rather than underlying categorial structure. This is done by using contextual functions to derive different interpretive functions and making these interpretations available for translations of elliptical negatives in discourse. This approach to child language interpretation is natural to UCG where the interesting connections between categorial, semantic, and pragmatic information can be explicitly described for each well-formed expression of a (child) language. This dissertation also investigates how UCG can be exploited as a theory of language development. The Categorial Complexity Hypothesis (CCH) states that children produce the simpler categories of the target language in their utterances before they produce the more complex ones in their utterances. When applied to UCG, the hypothesis states that the progressive development in children's negative utterances follows the partial ordering of categories based on the complexity of their descriptions. We discuss two predictions made by the CCH and evaluate them using child English spontaneous speech data from three children.