What to learn in learning attitude and modal meanings
Abstract: This talk explores the acquisition of modal and attitude verbs. These words do not name concrete objects, and their uses do not have reliable physical correlates. Consequently their acquisition may rely heavily on cues from the linguistic context. Reporting on three case studies, I will discuss what experience children have with these words, what the learnability problems arise for each, and how children might succeed. We will see what syntactic and pragmatic cues to meaning are (and are not) found in this input, and what capacities children would need to detect and make use of them.