When: Wednesday October 2nd, 3–4 pm in room 117
Who: Liz Smeets (McGill University, presenting joint work with Dr. Luisa Meroni (Utrecht University))
What: Not ALL sentences with SOME are complicated

It has been argued that children are not as proficient as adults in computing Scalar Implicatures (SIs), despite mastering its prerequisites (Chierchia et al. 2000). This study, contrary to many previous findings, presents experimental data from a Truth Value Judgment task (Crain & Thornton, 1998) which showed that children (age range 3;8 – 6;5, mean = 4;8) can compute adult-like SIs associated with some (in the sense of `some but not all`). In the light of the Question-Answer-Requirement-model (Gualmini et al., 2008), we have investigated whether children’s SI computation is influenced by 1) the appropriate Question Under Discussion (QUD) and 2) the relevant intonation on the quantifier some (i.e. presence or absence of contrastive focus). The design of the experiment disentangles the contribution of these two factors. The data shows that when the pragmatically enriched interpretation of the target sentence yielded a good answer to the QUD, children drew the SI associated with some significantly more often than when such calculation was not needed to address the QUD. However, they only did so when they received an additional cue that triggers an implicature reading, namely when the relevant stress was placed on the quantifier.