An Implicature account of Homogeneity and Non-maximality

Moshe E. Bar-Lev*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


I provide arguments in favor of an implicature approach to Homogeneity (Magri in Pragmatics, semantics and the case of scalar implicatures, Palgrave Macmillan, London, pp 99–145, 2014) where the basic meaning of the kids laughed is some of the kids laughed, and its strengthened meaning is all of the kids laughed. The arguments come from asymmetries between positive and negatives sentences containing definite plurals with respect to (1) children’s behavior (Tieu et al. in Front Psychol, 2019., (2) the availability of Non-maximal readings, and (3) the robustness of neither-true-nor-false (‘gappy’) judgments (Križ and Chemla in Nat Lang Semant 23(3):205–248, 2015). I propose to avoid some problems of Magri’s analysis by modeling the Implicature account of Homogeneity after the Implicature account of Free Choice, based on a hitherto unnoticed analogy between the two phenomena. The approach that emerges has the advantages of Magri’s implicature account of Homogeneity (predicting asymmetries), while at the same time bears a close resemblance to recent approaches to Non-maximality (Malamud in Semant Pragmat 5(3):1–58., 2012; Križ and Spector in Interpreting plural predication: homogeneity and non-maximality, Ms., Institut Jean Nicod, 2017), which enables restating their account of Non-maximality as following from the context-sensitivity of implicature calculation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1045-1097
Number of pages53
JournalLinguistics and Philosophy
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Context dependency
  • Exhaustivity
  • Homogeneity
  • Innocent inclusion
  • Non-maximality


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