Speaker epistemic state and ad hoc quantity implicatures in children

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Description: Children aged 5-6 were tested on their ability to take into account the speaker's epistemic state, or perspective, in pragmatic inferencing, in a picture-matching director-task. While they excelled at ad hoc quantity implicatures when the speaker's perspective did not differ from theirs (common ground), they performed poorly when the speaker did not share all information and they had to not derive an implicature.

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Working abstract Young children are known to excel at pragmatic inferences known as ad hoc quantity implicatures, inferring, for example, that “the card with apples” is the card with only apples. However, it is not known whether children take into account the speaker’s perspective in deriving such inferences, as adults are able to do, and as received theories of pragmatics claim. In two experimen...

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