Interpreting Vague Utterances in Context

We use the interpretation of vague scalar predicates like small as an illustration of how systematic semantic models of dialogue context enable the derivation of useful, fine-grained utterance interpretations from radically underspeci- fied semantic forms. Because dialogue context suffices to determine salient alternative scales and relevant distinctions along these scales, we can infer implicit standards of comparison for vague scalar predicates through completely general pragmatics, yet closely constrain the intended meaning to within a natural range.
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Neil Cooper (1995). Paradox Lost: Understanding Vague Predicates. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 3 (2):244 – 269.
John Collins (2000). Unsharpenable Vagueness. Philosophical Topics 28 (1):1-10.

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