Where truth and optimality part. Experiments on implicatures with epistemic adverbs

Adina Camelia Bleotu, Anton Benz, Nicole Gotzner


In the current paper, we employ a novel Shadow Play Paradigm in order to test Romanian monolingual adults’ sensitivity to truth and informativeness and investigate their ability to derive implicatures with epistemic adverbs. We show that implicature rates with epistemic adverbs are higher when participants are asked to reward characters depending on the truth of their statements rather than on whether what they say is the best description of the situation. Given participants’ task-sensitivity, we recommend instructions using optimality criteria as a more sensitive method of probing into implicature generation.


scalar implicatures; modality; epistemic adverbs; truth value judgment task; optimality judgment task; Romanian; methodology

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3765/elm.1.4863

Copyright (c) 2021 Adina Camelia Bleotu, Anton Benz, Nicole Gotzner

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