ITRW on Experimental Linguistics

Athens, Greece
August 28-30, 2006

Experimental Investigations on Implicatures: A Window into the Semantics/Pragmatics Interface

Napoleon Katsos

Research Centre for English and Applied Linguistics, University of Cambridge, UK

It is traditionally assumed in the linguistic-pragmatic literature that Scalar Implicatures (A or B >> either A or B but not both; some of the Fs>> at least one but not all of the Fs) are explicitly defeasible, structure-dependent and defeasible in context. We present three off-line studies that demonstrate the psycholinguistic reality of these properties of Scalar Implicatures (henceforth SIs). We then present two on-line text comprehension experiments that investigate the time-course of generating SIs and support a pragmatic account of SIs, according to which SIs are generated only when both structural and contextual constraints license them. We aim to demonstrate how an experimental approach can be informative on core issues in the semantics/ pragmatics literature.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Katsos, Napoleon (2006): "Experimental investigations on implicatures: a window into the semantics/pragmatics interface", In ExLing-2006, 161-164.