Alternatives and Implicit Meanings

An experimental investigation into how alternatives are computed

Language users rely on their words and phrases having relatively fixed interpretations – semantics –  and they also rely on a common level of rationality when it comes to achieving communicative ends with language – pragmatics. At the very interface between semantics and pragmatics lies Scalar Implicature –inferences about alternative words or phrases to what the speaker actually used. While scalar implicature is seen as key to our understanding of several linguistic constructions across languages, a theory of how alternatives are computed remains elusive. Building on recent critical work, the project team will undertake an unprecedented experimental investigation into how alternatives are computed.

For further details, please visit the project website: