The investigation of quantity implicatures during typical development: a systematic review




developmental pragmatics, implicatures, quantity maxim, systematic review


The present work is a systematic review on the acquisition of quantity implicatures in typically developing children. The references were selected through the PRISMA method. The criteria for eligibility were that the articles should be peer-reviewed, published articles written in English, containing empirical data on the comprehension of quantity implicatures in first language acquisition during typical development. The aim of this review is three-fold. First, to provide a picture of what empirical data tells us about the acquisition of quantity implicatures, based on both lexical and ad-hoc scales, potentially contributing to theoretical accounts of the phenomenon. Second, to analyze the methodologies that have been used to test children and their adequacy. And lastly to evaluate whether or not systematic review is an accurate analysis method for this type of varied and often complicated data. The results suggest that children improve in implicature derivation with age, especially with lexical scales, and that action-based tasks not based on meta-linguistic evaluations might be better suited to test these inferences, especially as opposed to Truth Value Judgment tasks. The fact that the systematic analysis confirms previously individuated trends in the acquisition of implicatures confirms that this is in fact a useful methodology to analyze the data, even with its limitations.