L1-Mandarin L2-English learners' acquisition of English double-quantifier scope

Mien Jen Wu, Tania Ionin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


English double-quantifier configurations such as A dog scared every man are ambiguous between a surface-scope reading (there exists one specific dog which scared every man) and an inverse-scope reading (each man was scared by a possibly different dog), while the Mandarin equivalent only has the surface-scope reading. Therefore, if L1-transfer is at work, L1-Mandarin L2-English learners would not initially allow inverse-scope readings in English, but may acquire them through exposure to relevant input. We tested learners in the U.S. and native English speakers on their acceptance of surface-scope and inverse-scope readings and found that learners disallowed inverse-scope readings of English double-quantifier sentences. This suggests that positive evidence alone is not sufficient for the L2-acquisition of inverse scope.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGenerative SLA in the Age of Minimalism. Features, interfaces, and beyond. Selected proceedings of the 15th Generative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition Conference
EditorsTania Leal, Elena Shimanskaya, Casilde A. Isabelli
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9789027257567
StatePublished - 2022

Publication series

NameLanguage Acquisition and Language Disorders
ISSN (Print)0925-0123


  • English
  • Mandarin
  • positive evidence
  • quantifier scope
  • second language acquisition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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