A novel experimental paradigm for distinguishing between what is said and what is implicated

Ryan Doran, Gregory Ward*, Meredith Larson, Yaron McNabb, Rachel E. Baker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations

Abstract

That there is a theoretical distinction between context-dependent and context-independent aspects of utterance interpretation has become a standard assumption in current theories of meaning; however, how and where to draw this distinction has been the subject of considerable debate. In the current study, we investigate whether speakers can systematically distinguish between WHAT IS SAID and WHAT IS IMPLICATED (Grice 1989 [1967]) using a novel truth-value judgment paradigm across a wide range of implicature types.We found that, by providing participants with a clear set of judgment criteria, including the adoption of an objective third-person perspective, we were able to enhance their ability to distinguish conversational implicature from truth-conditional meaning. In addition, we found that none of the implicature types we investigated was either consistently incorporated into or consistently excluded from what is said. Instead, our findings revealed considerable variation in frequency of incorporation across implicature types in ways that do not correspond straightforwardly to the various taxonomies of implicature types proposed in the literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)124-154
Number of pages31
JournalLanguage
Volume88
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2012

Keywords

  • Experimental pragmatics
  • Generalized conversational implicature
  • Grice
  • Scalar implicature
  • Semantics/pragmatics boundary

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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