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This chapter presents empirical studies that have tested children’s ability to understand implicatures. It starts with the category of relevance implicatures, before moving to scalar implicatures. In both cases, the conclusion is that even young children during the preschool years have the ability to derive implicatures when the task is kept simple enough. The chapter then presents studies that have focused on cases of atypical development, such as autism spectrum disorders, SLI and deafness.
This chapter starts by summarizing the predictions made by various theories of implicature that have consequences for language processing. It then presents empirical evidence bearing on a number of questions related to the processing of implicatures, namely: their processing cost, the difference between particularized and generalized implicatures, the role of mental state attribution for the derivation of implicatures, the role of politeness for the derivation of implicatures.
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