Publication details [#58236]

Publication type
Article in book
Publication language


Experimental Pragmatics can be considered as a subdiscipline devoted to assessing and furthering pragmatic accounts via psychological experiments. It recognizes as fundamental two ideas advocated by the philosopher Paul Grice: interlocutors share the aim of getting the speaker’s meaning hearer recognized; and inferred speaker meaning should meet some standards. One commonly credited distinction lies between what is said and what the speaker means. This gap is made more obvious by differentiating linguistic decoding and pragmatic inferencing. This manner of representing the semantic-pragmatic divide is essential to all of the topics in experimental pragmatics. Research on scalar inferences is summarized, which regards how relatively weak expressions like some (which is consistent with all but can be read as some but not all) are interpreted. This will be classified into two parts, according to two phases in scalar inference research. The first part demonstrates that participants’ responses can be employed to experimentally differentiate between semantic and pragmatic readings of weak scalar utterances. The second, more current, research line is dedicated to establishing how pragmatic inferences are folded into speaker meaning in real time. The paper then addresses referring expressions, which share many, yet not all, of the scalar literature. The last two sections concern figurative language as it summarizes work on metaphor and irony. Some other related areas are also briefly discussed.