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Pragmatic Aspects of Scalar ModifiersThe Semantics-Pragmatics Interface$
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Osamu Sawada

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198714224

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198714224.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 02 December 2021

Minimizer PPIs

Minimizer PPIs

(p.83) 5 Minimizer PPIs
Pragmatic Aspects of Scalar Modifiers

Osamu Sawada

Oxford University Press

Chapter 5 investigates the varieties of minimizers in Japanese (and other languages) and considers the source of variations from a semantics/pragmatics interface. Although sukoshi and chotto denote a small degree, they are different in terms of granularity: sukoshi conventionally implies that a speaker is measuring degrees with a scale that is precise, whereas chotto conventionally implies that the speaker is measuring degrees imprecisely. This difference naturally explains why chotto and not sukoshi has a speech act use. The speech act minimizer measures the degree of imposition of a speech act on the hearer, and the degree of imposition is something that cannot be measured precisely. This chapter shows that the not-at-issue component of minimizers plays an important role in explaining the varieties of minimizers.

Keywords:   minimizer, positive polarity item, chotto, precise measurement, imprecise measurement, degree of imposition, attenuation, speech act

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