Competence, Performance and the Locality of Quantifier Raising: Evidence from 4-year-old Children

Kristen Syrett, Jeffrey Lidz

We revisit the purported locality constraint of Quantifier Raising (QR) by investigating children's and adults' interpretation of ACD sentences, where the interpretation depends on the landing site targeted by QR out of an embedded clause. When ACD is embedded in a nonfinite clause, 4-year-old children and adults access the embedded and matrix interpretations. When ACD is embedded in a finite clause, and the matrix interpretation is generally believed to be ungrammatical, children and even some adults access both readings. This set of findings allows for the possibility that the source of QR's reputed locality constraint may instead be extragrammatical and provides insight into the development of the human sentence parser.