Children’s quantification with every over time


This article looks closely at two types of errors children have been shown to make with universal quantification—Exhaustive Pairing (EP) errors and Underexhaustive errors—and asks whether they reflect the same underlying phenomenon. In a large-scale, longitudinal study, 140 children were tested 4 times from ages 4 to 7 on sentences involving the universal quantifier every. We find an interesting inverse relationship between EP errors and Underexhaustive errors over development: the point at which children stop making Underexhaustive errors is also when they begin making EP errors. Underexhaustive errors, common at early stages in our study, may be indicative of a non-adult, non-exhaustive semantics for every. EP errors, which emerge later, and remain frequent even at age 7, are progressive in nature and were also found with adults in a control study. Following recent developmental work (Drozd and van Loosbroek 2006; Smits 2010), we suggest that these errors do not signal lack of knowledge, but may stem from independent difficulties appropriately restricting the quantifier domain in the presence of a salient, but irrelevant, extra object.

This article is part of the special collection: Acquisition of Quantification


quantifier spreading, universal quantification, language acquisition, every, exhaustive pairing, longitudinal

How to Cite

Aravind, A., de Villiers, J., de Villiers, P., Lonigan, C., Phillips, B., Clancy, J., Landry, S., Swank, P., Assel, M., Taylor, H., Eisenberg, N., Spinrad, T. & Valiente, C., (2017) “Children’s quantification with every over time”, Glossa: a journal of general linguistics 2(1): 43. doi:


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Athulya Aravind (Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, MIT, Cambridge, MA)
Jill de Villiers (Department of Psychology, Smith College, Northampton, MA)
Peter de Villiers (Department of Psychology, Smith College, Northampton, MA)
Christopher J. Lonigan (Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL)
Beth M. Phillips (Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL)
Jeanine Clancy (Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL)
Susan H. Landry (University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston)
Paul R. Swank (University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston)
Michael Assel (University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston)
Heather B. Taylor (University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston)
Nancy Eisenberg (Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ)
Tracy Spinrad (Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ)
Carlos Valiente (Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ)



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