Graduate studies at Western
|Abstract||In this article we present two sets of experiments designed to investigate the acquisition of scalar implicatures. Scalar implicatures arise in examples like Some professors are famous where the speaker’s use of some typically indicates that s/he had reasons not to use a more informative term, e.g. all. Some professors are famous therefore gives rise to the implicature that not all professors are famous. Recent studies on the development of pragmatics suggest that preschool children are often insensitive to such implicatures when they interpret scalar terms (Cognition 78 (2001) 165; Chierchia, G., Crain, S., Guasti, M.T., Gualmini, A., & Meroni, L. (2001). The acquisition of disjunction: evidence for a grammatical view of scalar implicatures. In A.H.-J. Do, L. Dominguez, & A. Johansen (Eds.), Proceedings of the 25th Boston University Conference on Language Development (pp. 157–168). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press; Musolino, J., & Lidz, J. (2002). Preschool logic: truth and felicity in the acquisition of quantiﬁcation. In B. Skarabela, S. Fish, & A.H.-J. Do, Proceedings of the 26th Boston University Conference on Language Development (pp. 406–416). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press). This conclusion raises two important questions: (a) are all scalar terms treated in the same way by young children?, and (b) does the child’s difﬁculty reﬂect a genuine inability to derive scalar implicatures or is it due to demands imposed by the experimental task on an otherwise pragmatically savvy child? Experiment 1 addresses the ﬁrst question by testing a group of 30 5-year-olds and 30 adults (all native speakers of Greek) on three different scales, koli, merikil (kall, somel), ktris, diol (kthree, twol) and kteliono, arxizol (kﬁnish, startl). In each case, subjects were presented with contexts which satisﬁed the semantic content of the stronger (i.e. more informative) terms on each scale (i.e. all, three and ﬁnish) but were described using the weaker terms of the scales (i.e..|
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