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date: 24 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter presents an overview of the experimental investigations on Negative Polarity Items (NPIs). NPIs are grammatically licensed under a set of complex semantic, syntactic and pragmatic conditions. The linguistic complexity of NPI licensing makes it a rich empirical domain for investigating the cognitive architecture of language processing and acquisition. This chapter brings together a rich set of empirical findings to address two issues: first, during language comprehension, how information from different sources, syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic, are incrementally combined, stored, accessed, and continuously consolidated over time to form an appropriate licensing context for NPIs; and second, what learning mechanisms are necessary for children to acquire the complex set of NPI licensing conditions from their linguistic input.

Keywords: NPI licensing, negation, memory retrieval, illusory licensing, pragmatic implicature, language acquisition

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