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date: 15 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter on pragmatics and inference provides an overview of the central topics of linguistic pragmatics, while emphasizing that pragmatics has had, with some notable exceptions, only a limited and indirect influence on work in psycholinguistics. Nevertheless, many of the phenomena studied under the head of “inference” in psycholinguistics, are related to pragmatic phenomena such as presupposition, implicature, and the interpretation of figurative language. The main part of the chapter provides an overview of psycholinguistic research on inference, starting with the work of Bransford in the 1970s, and considering questions about what inferences are made and when, including the notion of good-enough representations. The roles spreading activation, mental, or situation models, and embodiment in inference-making are also considered.

Keywords: pragmatics, inference, text comprehension, mental model, situation model

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