Chapter published in:Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Vietnamese Linguistics
Edited by Nigel Duffield, Trang Phan and Tue Trinh
[Studies in Language Companion Series 211] 2019
► pp. 241–252
Interpretation of numerals under memory load by Vietnamese speakers
Numerals show an ambiguity between a weak, ‘at least’ meaning and a strong, ‘exactly’ meaning. The Gricean approach takes the weak meaning to be basic and derives the strong meaning as implicature, thus assimilates numerals to other scalar items. The Fregean approach, in contrast, takes the strong meaning of numerals to be basic and derives the weak meaning via type shifting operations. This paper gives a brief summary of these two approaches, followed by a report on a dual-task experiment which is designed to test how Vietnamese speakers interpret numerals under different memory loads. The goal of this experiment is to replicate the results of Marty et al. (2013) which can be interpreted as supporting the Fregean approach. It turns out that this goal could not be achieved, and we give some speculations as to why it was not.
Keywords: numerals, implicatures, scales, memory, Vietnamese
Published online: 09 October 2019
Marty, Paul, Chemla, Emmanuel & Spector, Benjamin
Noveck, Ira A.