GENERICITY AND THE INTERPRETATION OF THE COPULAS BY SPANISH-SPEAKING CHILDREN

CAROLINA HOLTHEUER BEAUSIRE, KAREN MILLER
2015 RLA. Revista de Lingüística Teórica y Aplicada  
In Spanish the copulas ser and estar correlate with generic and specific interpretations, respectively. Likewise, both adjective types (scalar vs. non-scalar) and animacy of the sentential subject have been found to impact generic vs. specific interpretations in speakers. The current study extends upon previous research by investigating the interplay between copula, adjective type, and animacy in children's ability to access the generic vs. specific readings of the two copulas. The results of
more » ... s. The results of two comprehension experiments indicate that children treat the two copulas differently, associating ser + adjective constructions to generic interpretations significantly more often than they do for estar + adjective constructions. Nevertheless, the results also show that children do not reach adult levels on their interpretation of estar + adjective constructions. Instead, children's performance also depends on adjective type (scalar vs. non-scalar) and animacy of the subject. The results suggest that children have knowledge of the generic and existential interpretations
doi:10.4067/s0718-48832015000100006 fatcat:w6wsq3xqi5hethgo62y2lhajg4