Additive particles with a built-in Gricean pragmatics

Linmin Zhang, Jia Ling


NOCH-type additive particles (e.g., German noch, Chinese hái, Hungarian még) have a widespread distribution that roughly covers the uses of English still, also, and even. We propose that with a built-in Gricean Maxim of Quantity Be Informative in its lexical semantics, a NOCH-type particle explicitly requires that the discourse be incremental, and the NOCH-marked sentence add new information and further narrow down the context set, making the whole discourse even more informative. We also show that the cross-linguistic widespread distribution of NOCH-type particles is not arbitrary: there are three ways to build an incremental discourse structure, and these three implementations give rise to the three major uses of NOCH-type particles.


semantics; pragmatics; additive particles; discourse particles; presupposition triggers; Gricean maxims

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Copyright (c) 2016 Linmin Zhang, Jia Ling

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