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Invited talk
Workshop: Meaning in Context: Pragmatic Communication in Humans and Machines

Living in the moment: Studying pragmatic inference with temporally sensitive measures of comprehension

Jesse Snedeker


We will take a whirlwind, mile high, tour of the literature on the moment-to-moment processing of two simple quantity implicatures: scalar implicatures (avoidance of underinformative statements) and the inference that adjectives will be used contrastively (avoidance on overinformativity). On the basis of the scalars, I will propose that there are two routes by which implicatures are calculated: a slow bottom-up route and top-down route that leads the appearance of instantaneous implicature. This top-down route relies on the speaker’s conceptualization of the context in linguistically relevant terms. This analysis makes some novel predictions about the role of speaker modelling in the adjective inference. I’ll present unpublished data that support these new predictions.