What structural priming tells us about implicatures
Lewis Bott (Cardiff University),
Nov 8, 2016,
Utterances communicate much more than the literal meaning of the words. For instance, a letter of reference describing a student as punctual might imply that their academic ability is modest, or a grant application rated as good might suggest that the reviewer thought that it wasn’t excellent. These sorts of enrichments are commonly referred to as implicatures.
I will present experiments investigating the underlying representation and processing of implicatures and related phenomena. The approach I take is to test whether implications such as those above can be primed, that is, whether enrichment in preceding context leads to enrichment in the current context. The results help us to understand the psycholinguistics of Gricean implications and pragmatic processing more generally.