Pragmatics and epistemic vigilance: The deployment of sophisticated interpretative strategies
2015-12-1, Mazzarella, Diana
Sperber (1994) suggests that competent hearers can deploy sophisticated interpretative strategies in order to cope with deliberate deception or to avoid misunderstandings due to speaker’s incompetence. This paper investigates the cognitive underpinnings of sophisticated interpretative strategies and suggests that they emerge from the interaction between a relevance-guided comprehension procedure and epistemic vigilance mechanisms. My proposal sheds new light on the relationship between comprehension and epistemic assessment. While epistemic vigilance mechanisms are typically assumed to assess the believability of the output of the comprehension system (Sperber et al, 2010), I argue that epistemic assessment plays an additional role in determining this very output.
Face Management and Negative Strengthening: The Role of Power Relations, Social Distance, and Gender
2021-9-27, Gotzner, Nicole, Mazzarella, Diana
Negated gradable adjectives often convey an interpretation that is stronger than their literal meaning, which is referred to as ‘negative strengthening.’ For example, a sentence like ‘John is not kind’ may give rise to the inference that John is rather mean. Crucially, negation is more likely to be pragmatically strengthened in the case of positive adjectives (‘not kind’ to mean rather mean) than negative adjectives (‘not mean’ to mean rather kind). A classical explanation of this polarity asymmetry is based on politeness, specifically on the potential face threat of bare negative adjectives (Horn, 1989; Brown and Levinson, 1987). This paper presents the results of two experiments investigating the role of face management in negative strengthening. We show that negative strengthening of positive and negative adjectives interacts differently with the social variables of power, social distance, and gender.