Publié le 15 mai 2019 | Mis à jour le 15 mai 2019

Cross-Linguistic Variation in the Meaning of Quantifiers

Cross-Linguistic Variation in the Meaning of Quantifiers: Implications for Pragmatic Enrichment

One of the most studied scales in the literature on scalar implicatures is the quantifier scale. While the truth of some is entailed by the truth of all, some is felicitous only when all is false. This opens the possibility that some would be felicitous if, e.g., almost all of the objects in the restriction of the quantifier have the property ascribed by the nuclear scope. This prediction from the standard theory of quantifier interpretation clashes with native speakers’ intuitions.

In Experiment 1 we report a questionnaire study on the perception of quantifier meanings in English, French, Slovenian, and German which points to a cross-linguistic variation with respect to the perception of numerical bounds of the existential quantifier.
In Experiment 2, using a picture choice task, we further examine whether the numerical bound differences correlate with differences in pragmatic interpretations of the quantifier some in English and quelques in French and interpret the results as supporting our hypothesis that some and its cross-linguistic counterparts are subjected to different processes of pragmatic enrichment.
  • Sources
    Published in Frontiers in Psychology - Language Sciences
  • Auteur(s)
    Penka Stateva, Arthur Stepanov, Viviane Déprez, Ludivine Emma Dupuy and Anne Colette Reboul