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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