Redundancy and Embedded Exhaustification

Marie-Christine Meyer


I show how a formalization of Grice’s Brevity intuition, which I call Efficiency (Meyer 2013, 2014), correctly distinguishes between acceptable and unacceptable disjunctions that all seem to be redundant at first (e.g. Gajewski & Sharvit 2012; Mayr & Romoli 2013). The upshot is that the presence of embedded implicatures is one way of making a structure efficient in the formal sense developed here. I show that a particular prediction of Efficiency – the existence of embedded implicatures resulting in overall weakening of meaning – is not incorrect, and sheds new light on the role of rise-fall-rise intonation in these cases (Fox & Spector 2013; Büring 1997). 

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