Against Context-blind Scalar Implicatures


Jae-gyun Song

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A sentence like Some of Prof. Smith’s students got an A sounds odd when it is uttered in the context that he assigns the same grade to all of his students. Magri(2009, 2011) argues that this sentence is odd because it triggers the scalar implicature that not all of Prof. Smith’s students got an A, which contradicts the contextual information. The aims of this paper are twofold. I first show that two crucial components of Magri’s theory, the Blindness Hypothesis and the Noncancelable Implcature Hypothesis, are facing considerable problems, and then I put forward an alternative analysis. In a nutshell, the above-mentioned sentence sounds odd because it violates the Informativity Principle, which is an elaboration of Grice’s first submaxim of Quantity: for any scalar alternatives S and S’ such that S’ is more informative than S, S’ should be chosen over S unless there are conceivable reasons that S’ cannot be used. (Inje University)


 1. Introduction
 2. Magri’s theory
  2.1. The exhaustivity operator EXH
  2.2. Magri’s specific assumptions
  2.3. An example derivation
 3. Problems of Magri’s theory
  3.1. Obligatory scalar implicatures
  3.2. Blindness Hypothesis
 4. Proposal
 5. Concluding remarks


  • Jae-gyun Song Inje University


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