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Processing inferences at the semantics/pragmatics frontier: Disjunctions and free choice

Chemla, Emmanuel and Bott, Lewis 2014. Processing inferences at the semantics/pragmatics frontier: Disjunctions and free choice. Cognition 130 (3) , pp. 380-396. 10.1016/j.cognition.2013.11.013

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Linguistic inferences have traditionally been studied and categorized in several categories, such as entailments, implicatures or presuppositions. This typology is mostly based on traditional linguistic means, such as introspective judgments about phrases occurring in different constructions, in different conversational contexts. More recently, the processing properties of these inferences have also been studied (see, e.g., recent work showing that scalar implicatures is a costly phenomenon). Our focus is on free choice permission, a phenomenon by which conjunctive inferences are unexpectedly added to disjunctive sentences. For instance, a sentence such as “Mary is allowed to eat an ice-cream or a cake” is normally understood as granting permission both for eating an ice-cream and for eating a cake. We provide data from four processing studies, which show that, contrary to arguments coming from the theoretical literature, free choice inferences are different from scalar implicatures.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Uncontrolled Keywords: Pragmatics; Processing; Free choice; Scalar implicatures; Inferences
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0010-0277
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Date of Acceptance: 15 November 2013
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2020 18:54

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