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7 - The Development of Pragmatic Abilities

from Part I - Relevance Theory and Cognitive Communicative Issues

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 July 2019

Kate Scott
Affiliation:
Kingston University, London
Billy Clark
Affiliation:
Northumbria University, Newcastle
Robyn Carston
Affiliation:
University College London
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Summary

In this chapter, Myrto Grigoroglou and Anna Papafragou explore what seems to be a paradox about the development of pragmatic abilities: while very young children are able to perform tasks which demonstrate what is required for pragmatic reasoning, certain areas of their pragmatic performance do not become adult-like until much later. Focusing on the much-discussed topic of scalar implicature, they propose that performance in tasks designed to elicit the derivation of such an implicature is significantly affected by the nature of the contextual material provided. When, for example, children appear not to understand an utterance of the form ‘some X are Y’ as suggesting ‘not all X are Y’, it may be because they have not seen the potential relevance in the particular context of the thought that all X are Y.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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