In defense of the grammatical approach to local implicatures

Natural Language Semantics 20 (1):31-57 (2012)
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The existence of “local implicatures” has been the topic of much recent debate. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to this debate by asking what we can learn from three puzzles, namely, the cancellation of such implicatures by or both, their behavior in the complement clauses of negative factive verbs such as sorry, and their behavior in root and embedded questions. Two basic approaches to local implicatures have been advanced: a fully pragmatic account in which local implicatures result from conventional Gricean principles and a semantic account according to which the generation of implicatures is interwoven with compositional, grammatical mechanisms. We argue that the lesson to be learned from our three case studies is that some kind of approach along the latter, grammatical line is necessary to account for the data



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