Nonfamiliarity and indefinite descriptions

Barbara Abbott, Laurence R. Horn


Kehler & Ward (2006) argue for the existence of NONFAMILIARITY IMPLICATURES, including one that results from the use of English a/an rather than the. This implicature appears intended to subsume the scalar implicature of nonuniqueness postulated by Hawkins (1991). In this paper we try to clarify the nature of such a nonfamiliarity implicature, and we present evidence that such an implicature does not supplant Hawkins’ nonuniqueness implicature for indefinites.

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