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Summary Details

Query:   Cancelling Implicatures
Author:  Emma Borg
Submitter Email:  click here to access email
Linguistic LingField(s):   Pragmatics

Summary:   Regarding query:

Thanks to all who responded so quickly to my query for key texts on the
topic of cancelling Gricean implicatures in downward entailing contexts. I
haven't had time to look at everything yet, but here are the main results.

Napoleon Katsos suggested that the idea goes back to work by Ducrot and
Fauconnier, e.g.:

Fauconnier, Gilles: 1975, ‘Pragmatic scales and logical structure’,
Linguistic Inquiry 6, 353–375.

and to Larry Horn's PhD thesis:

Horn, Laurence: 1972, 'On the Semantic Properties of Logical Operators in
English', UCLA dissertation, distributed by Indiana University Linguistics
Club, 1976.

The issue is also discussed in:

Horn, Laurence: 1989, A Natural History of Negation. University of Chicago
Press, Chicago.

Martina Faller traced the suggestion that implictures are not cancelled in
DE contexts, but rather that the relevant scale is reversed, to three sources:

Gazdar, Gerald: 1979, Pragmatics, Academic Press, New York.

Atlas, Jay & Levinson, Stephen: 1981, ''It-Clefts, Informativeness and
Logical Form: an introduction to radically radical pragmatics'' in P. Cole

Levinson, Stephen C.: 2000, Presumptive Meanings: The Theory of
Generalized Conversational Implicature, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.

Several respondents (Napoleon Katsos, Judith Pijnacker, Elissavet Koutoupi)
pointed me to recent work by Chierchia, where the parallel between npi
licensing and implicature suspension is explicitly drawn. For instance:

Chierchia, Gennaro: 2004, ‘Scalar implicatures, polarity phenomena, and the
syntax/pragmatics interface.’ In A. Belletti (ed.), Structures and Beyond.
Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Chierchia, Gennaro, Stephen Crain, Maria Teresa Guasti, Andrea Gualmini and
Luisa Meroni: 2001, ‘The acquisition of disjunction: Evidence for a
grammatical view of scalar implicatures, BUCLD 25 Proceedings, 157–168,
Cascadilla, Somerville.

Larry Horn very helpfully sent me his forthcoming paper 'Border Wars'
(available on his web site) which gives a great summary of the issues here
and presents some worries for Chierchia's position.

Finally, Napoleon Katsos also pointed me to his own work on this topic
(from the field of experimental pragmatics), including:

'Interaction of Structural and Contextual Constraints During the On-line
Generation of Scalar Inferences', Proceedings of the Annual Cognitive
Science Meeting for 2005.

Elissavet Koutoupi pointed me to A. Gualmini's 'The unbearable lightness of
scalar implicatures' (

Sascha Michel pointed me to ''Implikaturen. Grammatische und pragmatische
Analysen'' edited by Frank Liedtke (1995) Tübingen: Niemeyer.

Thanks again to all.

LL Issue: 16.2284
Date Posted: 28-Jul-2005
Original Query: Read original query


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