Investigating a shared mechanism in the priming of manner and quantity implicature


  • Joe Cowan Univeristy of Cambridge
  • Napoleon Katsos



Manner implicature, quantity implicature, scalar implicature, priming


In the current paper, we investigate the existence of a shared derivation mechanism between manner and quantity implicature. As per the Gricean-inspired perspective, both manner and quantity implicature are derived in a substantially analogous fashion, relying on the consideration of alternative ways in which the speaker could have spoken, but didn’t. In contrast, other accounts (e.g., grammatical accounts) of quantity implicature consider manner implicature and quantity implicature to be distinct in their derivational mechanisms.

Previous studies have found that quantity implicature can prime the derivation of subsequent quantity implicature both within and between quantity implicature subtypes in a structural priming paradigm, suggesting that ad hoc, numeral and some quantity implicature are governed by the same derivational mechanism. We have applied a structural priming paradigm to the case of manner implicature to investigate 1) whether manner implicature can be primed, 2) whether manner implicature can prime manner implicature and 3) whether manner implicature can be primed by quantity implicature. Through manner-manner priming, the paper addresses the psycholinguistic reality of manner. While quantity-manner priming probes the existence of a shared derivational mechanism between the phenomena.

We show that manner implicature can prime manner implicature under certain experimental circumstances and that ad hoc quantity, but not some quantity implicature can also prime manner implicature, whereas some quantity implicature cannot.