Pragmatic effects of 'more than' and 'at least' in incremental interpretation

Stavroula Alexandropoulou, Jakub Dotlačil, Rick Nouwen


We investigate the incremental interpretation of comparative and superlative numeral modifiers by manipulating the speaker’s epistemic state in an eye-tracking reading experiment. The results reveal a different processing profile for two types of numeral modifiers. We take this difference to point to a difference in the source and nature of the attested effects (e.g., Quantity- vs. Manner-based pragmatic reasoning). Our findings inform the existing theoretical landscape, invalidating a number of accounts of speaker ignorance effects with numeral modifiers and giving support to Quantity-based accounts of such effects with superlative modifiers.

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