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Intonation and pragmatic enrichment: how intonation constrains ad-hoc scalar inferences

Tomlinson, John, Gotzner, Nicole and Bott, Lewis 2017. Intonation and pragmatic enrichment: how intonation constrains ad-hoc scalar inferences. Language and Speech 60 (2) , pp. 200-223. 10.1177/0023830917716101

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Pragmatic inferences require listeners to use alternatives to arrive at the speaker’s intended meaning. Previous research has shown that intonation interacts with alternatives but not how it does so. We present two mouse tracking experiments that test how pitch accents affect the processing of ad hoc scalar implicatures in English. The first shows that L+H* accents facilitate implicatures relative to H* accents. The second replicates this finding and demonstrates that the facilitation is caused by early derivation of the implicature in the L+H* condition. We attribute the effect to a link between L+H* and pragmatic considerations, such as speaker knowledge effects, or the saliency of alternatives relevant to the computation of implicatures. More generally our findings illustrate how intonation interacts at a cognitive level with pragmatic inference.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 0023-8309
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 1 March 2017
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2019 00:10

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