University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > RCEAL Tuesday Colloquia > Too much information? Hearer sensitivity to over-informativeness in referring expressions

Too much information? Hearer sensitivity to over-informativeness in referring expressions

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A growing area of interest within experimental pragmatics is hearer sensitivity to sub-optimal amounts of detail in referring expressions. I will present a series of experiments focusing on hearer sensitivity to over-informativeness, prompted by work by Engelhardt, Bailey & Ferreira (2006) who found no penalty for over-informative utterances by adult raters. We did not replicate Engelhardt et al.’s results, finding instead that over-informative items were penalised relative to their optimal counterparts. Explanations for this discrepancy in the data will be discussed, e.g. over-informative modification as disambiguation, and raters’ relative leniency towards utterances that say too much versus those which say too little.

This talk is part of the RCEAL Tuesday Colloquia series.

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