April 26, 2002

5:00pm, April 26, 2002 (Note time change!)
3rd floor conference room, College of Arts and Sciences Building 10, University of Tokyo Komaba campus
Uli Sauerland (University of Tuebingen)
Implicatures and the Global-Local Debate
The issue of local vs. global computation is currently debated in
several subfields of linguistics. Against this background, I consider
the mechanisms determining scalar implicatures. While implicatures
have traditionally been analyzed as the result of a global mechanism
(Grice 1978), Chierchia (2001) recently advocated a local view.  I
advance arguments against Chierchia's position, and present new
evidence in support of the global view. More specifically, the
argument has two parts to it:

1) Chierchia claims that the global view lacks an account for certain
groups of data including disjunction. I show that the global view
provides an elegant solution to the disjunction puzzle, which will be
based on two independently motivated modifications: (i) an adjustment
to the definition of scales used for disjunction, and (ii) a
reassessment of the epistemic status of implicatures.

2) I argue that only the global view makes the correct prediction in
cases with universal quantification. To this end, I argue for a novel
semantics of tense.  I propose that present tense is semantically
vacuous, and that constraints on its interpretation arise from scalar

The results of this study have important consequences for other
subfields of linguistics.  If correct, they demonstrate that the
conceptual motives offered by those who pursue strictly local accounts
cannot be absolute --- implicature computation shows that our
linguistic knowledge includes global mechanisms.


Chierchia, Gennaro. 2001. "Scalar Implicatures, Polarity Phenomena,
and the Syntax/Pragmatics Interface."  Unpublished Manuscript,
University of Milan Bicocca.

Grice, Paul. 1978. "Logic and Conversation." In: P. Cole and
J. L. Morgan, "Speech Acts", 41-58.  New York: Academic Press.

Last modified: Wed Jun 4 23:43:38 JST 2003