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date: 26 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

We review experimental evidence regarding the development of scalar implicature in children. Scalar implicatures are inferences that arise when utterances like “Mary ate some of the cakes” are interpreted as “Mary ate some but not all of the cakes.” The evidence suggests that, even though the mechanism for generating scalar implicatures in children is in many respects adult-like, children nevertheless face limitations in computing such conversational inferences from what the speaker said. We highlight the importance of the findings for the development of pragmatic inference, language acquisition, and communication in general. We also identify open questions and promising areas for future research.

Keywords: scalar implicature, scalar alternatives, pragmatic inference, experimental pragmatics, relevance, communicative development, conversational goals

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