Recently there has been a lively revival of interest in implicatures, particularly scalar implicatures. Building on the resulting literature, our main goal in the present paper is to establish an empirical generalization, namely that SIs can occur systematically and freely in arbitrarily embedded positions. We are not so much concerned with the question whether drawing implicatures is a costly option (in terms of semantic processing, or of some other markedness measure). Nor are we specifically concerned with how implicatures come about (even though, to get going, we will have to make some specific assumptions on this matter). The focus of our discussion is testing the claim of the pervasive embeddability of SIs in just about any context, a claim that remains so far controversial. While our main goal is the establishment of an empirical generalization, if we succeed, a predominant view on the division of labor between semantics and pragmatics will have to be revised. A secondary goal of this paper is to hint at evidence that a revision is needed on independent grounds. But let us first present, in a rather impressionistic way, the reasons why a revision would be required if our main generalization on embedded SIs turns out to be correct. In the tradition stemming from Grice (1989), implicatures are considered a wholly pragmatic phenomenon and SIs are often used as paramount examples. Within such a tradition, 㳊 semantics is taken to deal with the compositional construction of sentence meaning (a term which we are using for now in a loose, non technical way), while pragmatics deals with how sentence meaning is actually put to use (i.e. enriched and possibly modified through reasoning about speakers’ intentions, contextually relevant information, etc.). Simply put, on this view pragmatics takes place at the level of complete utterances and pragmatic enrichments are a root phenomenon (something that happens globally to sentences) rather than a compositional one..
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 54,715
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Conversational Impliciture.Kent Bach - 1994 - Mind and Language 9 (2):124-162.
A Natural History of Negation.Jon Barwise & Laurence R. Horn - 1991 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 56 (3):1103.

View all 35 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

On the Characterization of Alternatives.Danny Fox & Roni Katzir - 2011 - Natural Language Semantics 19 (1):87-107.
On the Characterization of Alternatives.Danny Fox Roni Katzir - 2011 - Natural Language Semantics 19 (1):87-107.

View all 56 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
121 ( #78,305 of 2,386,848 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #550,981 of 2,386,848 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes