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Implicature, Explicature, and Truth-Theoretic Semantics

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... We focus on an implicature generated by the connective and when joining two events-namely, the implicature that and actually means and then (i.e., the two events are being mentioned in the temporal order in which they actually occurred). This has been studied by Carston (1988), noting the oddness of sentences like "Jane got into bed and brushed her teeth", which seems to carry the clear implication that Jane brushed her teeth in bed. Noveck and Chevaux (2002) also study this implicature in children, finding that compared to younger children, older children and adults generate more and then implicatures when events are joined by and. ...
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As pre-trained language models (LMs) continue to dominate NLP, it is increasingly important that we understand the depth of language capabilities in these models. In this pa- per, we target pre-trained LMs’ competence in pragmatics, with a focus on pragmatics relating to discourse connectives. We formulate cloze-style tests using a combination of naturally-occurring data and controlled inputs drawn from psycholinguistics. We focus on testing models’ ability to use pragmatic cues to predict discourse connectives, models’ ability to understand implicatures relating to connectives, and the extent to which models show humanlike preferences regarding temporal dynamics of connectives. We find that although models predict connectives reasonably well in the context of naturally-occurring data, when we control contexts to isolate high-level pragmatic cues, model sensitivity is much lower. Models also do not show substantial human- like temporal preferences. Overall, the findings suggest that at present, dominant pre- training paradigms do not result in substantial pragmatic competence in our models.
... We focus on an implicature generated by the connective and when joining two events-namely, the implicature that and actually means and then (i.e., the two events are being mentioned in the temporal order in which they actually occurred). This has been studied by Carston (1988), noting the oddness of sentences like "Jane got into bed and brushed her teeth", which seems to carry the clear implication that Jane brushed her teeth in bed. Noveck and Chevaux (2002) also study this implicature in children, finding that compared to younger children, older children and adults generate more and then implicatures when events are joined by and. ...
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As pre-trained language models (LMs) continue to dominate NLP, it is increasingly important that we understand the depth of language capabilities in these models. In this paper, we target pre-trained LMs' competence in pragmatics, with a focus on pragmatics relating to discourse connectives. We formulate cloze-style tests using a combination of naturally-occurring data and controlled inputs drawn from psycholinguistics. We focus on testing models' ability to use pragmatic cues to predict discourse connectives, models' ability to understand implicatures relating to connectives, and the extent to which models show humanlike preferences regarding temporal dynamics of connectives. We find that although models predict connectives reasonably well in the context of naturally-occurring data, when we control contexts to isolate high-level pragmatic cues, model sensitivity is much lower. Models also do not show substantial humanlike temporal preferences. Overall, the findings suggest that at present, dominant pre-training paradigms do not result in substantial pragmatic competence in our models.
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Expressive adjectives or expressive expletives have been argued to voice the speaker’s attitude towards the referent of the noun with which they co-occur, even though the attitude may be felt to be expressed about the referent of another sentential constituent or the state of affairs alluded to in the sentence where they are inserted. A previous pragmatic approach suggests that this is possible because these expletives perform an individual speech act, while a syntactic approach posits a feature whose detachment from a particular constituent enables the speaker’s attitude to target the referent of another sentential constituent or even on the entire proposition expressed. This paper proposes an alternative relevance-theoretic account of the interpretation of utterances containing expressive expletives, which considers pragmatic factors and the cognitive processes in comprehension. It is grounded in contributions on the output of lexical pragmatic processes and the role of paralinguistic clues in utterance comprehension.
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