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Title: Scalar implicature : Gricean reasoning and local enrichment
Author: Sun, Chao
ISNI:       0000 0004 7231 6805
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis investigates the cognitive underpinnings of Scalar Implicature phenomenon. Here I present a series of experiments in three domains of research for scalars: (i) scalar diversity phenomenon, (ii) implicature priming and (iii) the time course of access to pragmatic enrichments. I adopt a broadly Gricean theoretical approach with local pragmatic enrichment to the design of the studies and argue that this approach can shed light on the phenomena. The results of the experiments also lend support to the theoretical perspective taken. This thesis introduces a new perspective to interpret scalar diversity phenomenon. Given the observation that different scalar terms give rise to unembedded scalar implicatures at different rates, experiments presented in Chapter 2 and 3 suggest that one source of scalar diversity is the strength of association between a scalar term and its upper-bounding local enrichment. It provides indirect evidence that local enrichment impacts on the interpretation of unembedded scalars. More direct evidence of an effect of local enrichment in unembedded scalars is found in implicature priming. Experiments presented in Chapter 4 find unembedded and embedded scalar enrichments could prime each other, indicating local pragmatic enrichment as a shared mechanism involved in both. In addition, this thesis presents research on the time course of access to local pragmatic enrichment of 'some', which reveals no delay in pragmatic enrichment vis a vis semantic interpretation. Overall, this thesis argues for an integrated Gricean system that allows for scalar phenomena to be explained by two mechanisms, a global inference mechanism and a local enrichment mechanism.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available