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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton 2018

Repetition versus implicatures and presuppositions

From the book Exact Repetition in Grammar and Discourse

  • Chris Cummins


The exact repetition of linguistic material has a range of pragmatic consequences, many of which can be understood as involving a weakening of the speaker’s commitment towards the meanings that the material would usually be understood to convey. In this chapter I argue that exact repetition can lead to the loss of implicatures and the non-projection of presuppositions, for principled reasons involving consideration of the preceding context and the speaker’s intention. In support of this, I present novel experimental data concerning sentences which appear to trigger but then cancel presuppositions: participants infer that the presupposition triggers are repetitions, even in the absence of explicit evidence of prior use. I also consider the relevance of pragmatic considerations for the conventionalised use of repetition.

© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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