Studying Language Acquisition Through the Prism of Isomorphism

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

8 Scopus citations


This chapter reviews the growing literature in the acquisition of semantics focused on the way children interpret sentences containing quantified NPs and negation. Much of this work grows out of an observation that preschoolers, unlike adults, display a strong preference for the interpretation of such sentences that corresponds to the surface syntactic position of the quantificational elements involved. This is what has been called the Observation of Isomorphism (OI). The chapter makes the case that OI is best and most productively understood as a research program. The notion of isomorphism can be used as a prism to illuminate much broader issues in domains such as language acquisition, linguistic theory, learnability theory, experimental methodology, and the development of sentence processing and pragmatic abilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationStudies in Theoretical Psycholinguistics
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages31
StatePublished - 2011

Publication series

NameStudies in Theoretical Psycholinguistics
ISSN (Print)1873-0043
ISSN (Electronic)2215-1788

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Linguistics and Language
  • Language and Linguistics


  • Ambiguous Sentence
  • Grammatical Development
  • Scope Reading
  • Sentence Processing
  • Target Sentence


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