Moreover, children’s early competence in other areas where extensive pragmatic reasoning may be involved, such as word learning, suggests that sensitivity to informativeness may be developed at a younger age (see Clark, 2003 and Plumert, 1996 and references therein). In fact, according to the Gricean approach, we would expect that competence with informativeness is available as soon as the logical meaning of the expressions that form a contrast is acquired. Furthermore, it is also possible that differences between scalar and non-scalar
expressions may appear at some developmental stage, even though these were not evident in 5- to 6-year-old children. An intriguing finding was the difference within the adult group in experiment selleck kinase inhibitor 1, where more straightforward categorical rejections were elicited for underinformative utterances with scalars than with non-scalars (88% vs. 67%). This could merit further investigation, as it suggests click here that the difference between expressions may arise later rather than earlier in development, perhaps as the result of repeated exposure to context-independent scales of informativeness.
In the remainder of the general discussion we address two related topics. First, is there other evidence for pragmatic tolerance in the literature and what are the implications for referential communication tasks? Second, why are adults less tolerant than children? With regard to the first point, several other investigations have inadvertently reported data consistent with pragmatic tolerance. For instance, Paterson, Liversedge, White, Filik, and Jaz (2005) investigated how children and adults understand sentences with ‘only’, such as ‘The woman is only walking a dog’,
using sentences without ‘only’ as controls. In their binary judgement task (experiment 1), for conditions where the woman was doing something else as well (e.g. walking a cat), participants rejected the sentences with ‘only’ more than sentences without ‘only’, the difference increasing with age. Since the latter implies that the woman is not doing anything else, while the former explicitly states it, this difference is straightforwardly in accordance with the pragmatic tolerance account, where tolerance is restricted to pragmatic rather than semantic infelicity. Protein kinase N1 Moreover, the youngest children (aged 7–8) rejected underinformative utterances at rates of 30% in the binary judgement task. However, in a picture matching task (experiment 2) they selected the picture matching the informative interpretation of the utterance at rates about 85%. This stark contrast can be explained if children in experiment 1 were sensitive to underinformativeness but refrained from categorically rejecting the sentence when given a binary choice. These incidental findings are in line with the pragmatic tolerance account, although the authors do not discuss them in detail.