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Scalar Implicatures and Grammar
Benjamin Spector (ENS)

18 septembre 2009

In recent years, pragmatics has started being studied with as rigorous techniques as those used in formal semantics, giving rise to the relatively new field of Formal Pragmatics. One of the results of this trend has been that certain widely accepted assumptions about the division of labor between semantics and pragmatics have been challenged. We will focus on one particular type of inference, known as scalar implicatures, whose status is currently under debate; while the traditional, Gricean view conceives of them as paradigmatic cases of pragmatic inferences, it has been recently argued that they should rather be thought of as a grammatical phenomenon. We will present in a detailed way some of the arguments of the two sides of this debate. After the course’s four classes, there will be an additional special session in which Emmanuel Chemla will present an experimental study which we carried out recently, and whose results bear on the debate between the purely pragmatic approach to scalar implicatures and the grammatical approach.
Courses (handouts downloadable):
1/ September 18, 2009 at 11:00 am,
2/ September 19, 2009 at 11:00 am,
3/ September 21, 2009 at 11:00 am,
4/ September 22, 2009 at 11:00 am.

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Benjamin Spector Benjamin Spector (ENS)
Benjamin Spector est linguiste, chargé de recherches au CNRS ; il appartient à l’Institut Jean-Nicod (CNRS-ENS-EHESS, Département d’études cognitives de l’ENS).

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