Online construction of implicature through contrastive prosody

Heeyeon Y. Dennison, Amy J. Schafer, University of Hawai`i

Little experimental evidence exists for how prosodic/ intonational information might affect the generation of an implicature. We provide online evidence that the combination of an L+H* pitch accent and an L−H\% boundary tone work together to imply a contradiction, and that this contour has distinct effects from an L+H* L−L\% tune. We also compare the online processing of changes in meaning suggested by prosody versus explicit negation. The results highlight the importance of intonational information in sentence understanding, and the differences in processing prosodically cued contrastive information versus lexical negation.