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Detail of contribution

Auteur: Cecile BARBET

Co-Auteur(s): Olaf HAUK, MRC CBU Cambridge, UK Maarten VAN CASTEREN, MRC CBU Cambridge, UK Napoleon KATSOS, University of Cambridge, UK

Generating scalar implicatures: context, defaultness, and sense-selection

Abstract/Résumé: Whether Scalar Implicatures are generated by default is understood in two ways: (a) whether the SI is generated regardless of context, and may occasionally need to be cancelled; and (ib) whether generating an SI is cost-free. Research using the visual-world paradigm has explored whether SIs are delayed or computed immediately [2 vs. 3]. Research in text-comprehension [5, 6] suggests that generating an SI is context-dependent and costly. However, the processing cost may be attributed to a repeated name penalty [5] or to a dispreference for an answer with a vague quantifier when a specific numeral would be more felicitous [6]. Additionally, the changes between SI-favouring and SI-disfavouring contexts were not minimal. Finally, self-paced reading does not provide the most accurate measure of processing. We address these issues by making minimal manipulations to our materials and also using eye-tracking in reading. Native French speakers read short conversations containing 'quelques-uns' (some). A question at the beginning of the conversation asked about all or any of the entities involved. The former, but not the latter, makes the quantity of entities relevant to the discourse and supports an SI. A control condition with ‘seulement quelques-uns’ (only some of them) made the SI explicit. The trigger expressions were followed by the anaphoric phrase ‘les autres’ (the others). Participants who interpret the trigger with an SI should find it easy to access the referents of the anaphoric phrase. The anaphoric phrase was read equally fast in ‘all_quelques-uns’ and ‘all_only_quelques-uns’ conditions, and in both cases faster than in ‘any_quelques-uns’ condition. This confirms that SIs were generated online in the former conditions, and that the process is context-dependent. Turning to the trigger 'quelques-uns', measures on ‘all_quelques-uns’ were not different from ‘any_quelques-uns’. Therefore, there is no particular processing cost associated with generating an SI in this experiment. [2] Huang, Y. & Snedeker, J. (2009). On-line interpretation of scalar quantifiers: Insight into the semantic-pragmatics interface. Cognitive Psychology, 58(3): 376–415. [3] Grodner, D.J., et al. (2010). “Some,” and possibly all, scalar inferences are not delayed: Evidence for immediate pragmatic enrichment. Cognition, 116(1): 42–55. [5] Breheny, R., Katsos, N. & Williams, J. (2006). Are Generalised Scalar Implicatures Generated by Default?, Cognition, 100(3): 434-463. [6] Bergen, L. & Grodner, D.J. (2012). Speaker knowledge influences the comprehension of pragmatic inferences. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 38(5):1450-60.