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ERIC Number: EJ1138022
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0163-853X
Contextual Causes of Implicature Failure
Cummins, Chris
Discourse Processes: A multidisciplinary journal, v54 n3 p207-218 2017
Theoretical and empirical research on quantity implicature has concurred that pragmatically strengthened, richer readings are not available when they are not relevant to the discourse purpose. However, this claim relies on an appeal to a notion of "relevance" that has proved difficult to make precise. In this article I discuss and contrast two potential contributory factors to relevance: adherence to the Question Under Discussion, and form-based priming effects. The former can be considered to operate at a relatively high level of analysis, from the speaker's perspective, and influences the semantic content that the speaker should be attempting to convey, whereas the latter is assumed to reflect low-level psychological preferences and influences the form of words that the speaker should use. I argue that pragmatics, and specifically implicature, constitutes a useful testbed for distinguishing these effects--the availability of an implicature can be used as an indicator that a particular stronger alternative would also have been an acceptable utterance, whereas its unavailability suggests that the stronger alternative would not necessarily have been acceptable. I discuss recent experimental data from this perspective and argue that both Question Under Discussion and priming effects are customarily at play. I conclude by exploring the implications of this for our view of pragmatics and its interfaces.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A