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Conference Information

Full Title: Implicatures or Domain Restriction/Domain Widening? Theoretical and Experimental Approaches

Short Title: IoD 2017
Location: Budapest, Hungary
Start Date: 19-Jun-2017 - 20-Jun-2017
Contact: Lilla Pintér
Meeting Email: click here to access email
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Meeting Description: The Research Institute for Linguistics of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and Pázmány Péter Catholic University are pleased to announce the workshop “Implicatures or domain restriction/domain widening? – Theoretical and experimental approaches” to be held on June 19–20, 2017 in Budapest, Hungary.

The goal of this workshop is to confront various views and experimental results on how contextual restrictions on the domain of quantification, the domain of exhaustive focus, the domain of disjunctive coordination, etc. enter into interpretation in child and adult language.

According to the traditional neo-Gricean view (e.g., Horn 1981, Levinson 1983, Kadmon 2001), the basic reading of numerical indefinites is ‛at least n’, and the ‛exactly n’ reading obtained in certain contexts and out of context is contributed by a scalar implicature. More recent alternative proposals, supported by experimental results (e.g. Papafragou and Musolino 2003), claim that the ‛exactly n’ reading is basic, and the ‛at least n’ reading is derived by pragmatic inferencing (Horn 1996, Geurts 2006, Breheny 2008). These conflicting theories have also been used to account for the relation of some and all/every expressions (Some Hittite scholars were at the reception can be true if in fact all Hittite scholars were present). Stanley and Szabó’s (2000) proposal challenges both types of approaches; they argue that the choice between some Hittite scholars and all Hittite scholars depends on how the speaker determines the domain with respect to which the quantifier phrase is evaluated. In this framework neither reading is basic, both are accessible by suitable contextual manipulations of the domain.

As is known since Szabolcsi (1981), the exhaustivity of a structural focus, e.g., the cleft focus in It is Joseph Conrad who was born Polish, too, only holds with respect to a contextually determined domain. It is debated whether the coherence of the sentence ''It was two novels by Joseph Conrad that I read for the exam'', and ''I also read an article about him'' shows that the exhaustivity of structural focus is an implicature canceled by the second clause (cf. Wedgwood 2005), or exhaustivity is a non-cancelable presupposition, and the relevant domain with respect to which exhaustivity is evaluated is widened in the second clause.

Experimental data show that, given the right context, not only adults but also children can understand and perform contextually relevant domain restriction. It is an open question how exactly this is done; whether implicatures are encapsulated in the logical-semantic module (cf. Chierchia, Fox, and Spector 2012); or – at least in the case of children – local, context-dependent operations yield the required interpretation; etc.

We expect abstract submissions discussing these and related issues from any (theoretical, experimental, linguistic, psycholinguistic etc.) perspectives.

Invited Speakers:

Gennaro Chierchia (Harvard University)
Bart Geurts (University of Nijmegen)


Katalin É. Kiss
Lilla Pintér
Linguistic Subfield: Language Acquisition; Pragmatics; Psycholinguistics; Semantics
LL Issue: 28.684

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