Bart Geurts and Nausicaa Pouscoulous
Over the last decade, various proposals have been made for supplanting the classical theory of scalar implicature with a conventionalist (i.e. lexicalist or syntax-based) treatment. In contradistinction to the classical view, conventionalist theories predict that scalar inferences occur systematically and freely in embedded positions. We present experimental evidence that disproves this prediction, arguing along the way that there are rather good reasons for suspecting that introspection is an unreliable tool for gathering data on pragmatic inferences.
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