Scalar implicatures: working memory and a comparison with only
Author(s)Chemla, Emmanuel; Marty, Paul Pierre
MetadataShow full item record
A Scalar Implicature (SI) arises when the use of a relatively weak sentence (e.g., some politicians are corrupt) implies the denial of an alternative, stronger sentence (e.g., not all politicians are corrupt). The cognitive effort associated with the processing of SIs involves central memory resources (De Neys and Schaeken, 2007; Dieussaert et al., 2011; Marty et al., 2013). The goal of this study is to locate this previous result within the current psycholinguistic debate, and to understand at which level of SI processing these resources are specifically involved. Using a dual-task approach, we show that (1) tapping participant's memory resources interferes with the derivation of SIs, whereas (2) it does not affect the interpretation of sentences involving similar competition mechanisms between a sentence and potential alternatives through the use of only (e.g., only some politicians are corrupt). We explain how these findings suggest that the central memory resources are not involved in the core process at the source of SIs, and discuss how this difference between SIs and only bears on recent linguistic debates on the division of labor between grammar and pragmatics.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Linguistics and Philosophy
Frontiers in Psychology
Frontiers Research Foundation
Marty, Paul P., and Emmanuel Chemla. “Scalar implicatures: working memory and a comparison with only.” Frontiers in Psychology 4 (2013).
Final published version