Ambiguity and implicature in children's discourse comprehension*

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


21 first graders and 20 third graders were told to pick drawings of clowns out of an array on the basis of ambiguous messages. One of the messages could be taken to refer to either of two clowns, depending on which interpretive strategy the child employed. The other message could be given no definite interpretation. Although 23 of 41 children refused to make a definite choice for the second message, 31 specified choices for the first message. First graders applied an Antecedence Maxim strategy. Third graders used a Quantity Maxim strategy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-216
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Child Language
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1982
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • General Psychology


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