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date: 17 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Experimental pragmatics is an area of cognitive science that tests hypotheses from (semantics and) pragmatics while employing rigorous methodologies from experimental psychology. Inspired by Grice’s seminal proposal, this area typically aims to uncover how sentence meaning is integrated while the listener is determining the speaker’s intended meaning. This chapter summarizes the findings with respect to three prominent experimental pragmatic topics: scalar implicature (e.g. the way some can implicitly mean some but not all); reference (e.g. how a listener goes about establishing which object among several is being referred to); and irony (which involves defining it and determining the extent to which cognitive effort and mindreading is critical to processing it). The review of each topic highlights how extralinguistic activities, such as inference-making and intention-reading, are critical to language and communication.

Keywords: intention, inference, scalar implicature, reference, irony

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