ABSTRACT

Kim, Soyoung and Hye-Young Kwak. 2018. Study on Korean EFL learners’ interpretive preferences in the comprehension of English sentences containing numeral quantifiers and negation in a neutral context. Korean Journal of English Language and Linguistics 18-4, 541-561. This study investigates the default/preferred meanings Korean EFL learners assign to ambiguous English sentences containing numeral quantifiers and negation (e.g., Mary didn’t light two candles in the kitchen) in a neutral context. Ambiguous sentences are claimed to render two interpretations: the quantifier wide scope and the negation wide scope. Forty-five EFL learners and eight English native speakers participated in the study which employed a written Truth Value Judgment Task, where participants judged whether a statement with a numeral quantifier and negation correctly described a given neutral context story. Unlike previous studies, the context stories were constructed so that one interpretation was not favored over the other by the events described in the stories. When comprehending the target sentences, participants accepted the quantifier wide scope interpretation as the default meaning more frequently. The results are discussed with a focus on syntactic and language processing factors.

KEYWORD

Keywords: numeral quantifier, negation, scope ambiguity, neutral context, default meaning, second language comprehension

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