This paper investigates the contrast between quantificational and referential properties of the English indefinite determiner during the course of first language acquisition. · Various syntactic, semantic and pragmatic knowledge related to indefinites has previously been probed in the acquisition literature. (See Brown 1973, Maratsos 1976, Warden 1976, Emslie and Stevenson 1980, Zehler and Brewer 1982, Pine and Martindale 1986, Valian 1986, Gerken, Landau and Remez 1990, Philip 1995, Bohnacker 1997, and Burns and Soja 1997, among others.) However, to date, the contrast between referential-type and quantificational/variable-type interpretations of indefinites has not been extensively studied in first language acquisition. In this paper, we investigate the acquisition of knowledge of the indefinite determiner in a context that allows both of these alternative interpretations: the context of VP ellipsis.
PROCEEDINGS OF THE 14TH ANNUAL Boston University Conference on Language Development, 2000, 286-298.