Implicatures and scalar diversity

Posted on October 28, 2013 by


The second masterclass of 2013 will be given by Chris Cummins (Edinburgh), who’s in town to give a plenary at the upcoming mFiL conference. The topic will be Implicatures and scalar diversity, with a focus on experimental perspectives. Here’s the abstract:

Much of the recent experimental work in pragmatics examines the generation of implicatures, and in particular scalar implicatures, addressing questions about the time-course of this process and the conditions under which it happens at all. However, this research has disproportionately focused on the behaviour of one particular instance of scalar implicature, namely the tendency of “some” to convey the richer meaning “not all”. In this class we will look at why this has been the case, and the consequences that it might have for our understanding of implicature. We will explore two major issues: first, how we can devise and conduct experiments to test theories of implicature, and the techniques that are available for use; and secondly, how to broaden the domain of study to encompass the full range of potential scalar implicatures, and how to characterise the variability within this domain.

The class will be on Monday 18th Nov. The first session 10-12 will be in Samuel Alexander A215 (the Sandwidge room!), then the second session 2-4 will be in Williamson G33.

Some preliminary reading is suggested: take a look at the suggestions here.

PS: Two new masterclasses have been announced for 2014, by Naomi Nagy and Chris Lucas – check the masterclasses page for details!

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