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Echolalia as a communicative strategy
Greta Mazzaggio, 2019, original scientific article

Abstract: Echolalia – immediate or delayed – is the stereotyped and mechanical repetition of words and phrases produced by others. Experts used to view echolalia as a defect to eliminate; however, current research has shown that often imitation may serve a purpose for children with linguistic deficits. This study’s goal is to assess whether echolalia has communicative value; such purpose is achieved through the analysis of spontaneous speech and delayed echoes uttered by a 13- years-old boy officially diagnosed with Kleefstra Syndrome. Since there are no linguistic studies yet regarding this syndrome, this study may shed new light on a specific linguistic strategy that people with this syndrome might use. Based on the functional categories described by Prizant (1983), we analyzed the echolalic speech produced by this teen with the aim of demonstrating the pragmatic value behind those repetitions.
Keywords: communication, delayed echolalia, immediate echolalia, Kleefstra-Syndrome
Published: 17.09.2021; Views: 67; Downloads: 3
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The production of pronouns and verb inflections by Italian children with ASD
Aaron Shield, Greta Mazzaggio, 2020, original scientific article

Abstract: The language of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is often characterized by difficulties with pronouns. The underlying reasons for such difficulties are still unclear. This study is the first to test the abilities of children with ASD who speak Italian, a language in which overt subject pronouns are optional but verbs obligatorily feature person-referencing morphology. We found that Italian children with ASD were less accurate than typically-developing (TD) Italian children in the production of first-, second-, and third-person singular pronouns, avoiding pronouns in favor of nouns or names more often than controls. Moreover, children with ASD produced more overt pronouns than null pronouns in marked contexts, compared to TD children. These phenomena can be accounted for by difficulties with pragmatics.
Keywords: autism, autism spectrum disorder, pronoun production, pronoun avoidance, language development
Published: 17.09.2021; Views: 78; Downloads: 1
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Scalar and ad-hoc pragmatic inferences in children: guess which one is easier
Luca Surian, Francesca Panzeri, Greta Mazzaggio, Francesca Foppolo, 2021, original scientific article

Abstract: Several studies investigated preschoolers’ ability to compute scalar and ad-hoc implicatures, but only one compared children’s performance with both kinds of implicature with the same task, a picture selection task. In Experiment 1 (N = 58, age: 4;2-6;0), we first show that the truth value judgment task, traditionally employed to investigate children’s pragmatic ability, prompts a rate of pragmatic responses comparable to the picture selection task. In Experiment 2 (N = 141, age: 3;8-9;2) we used the picture selection task to compare scalar and ad-hoc implicatures and linked the ability to derive these implicatures to some cognitive and linguistic measures. We found that four- and five-year-olds children performed better on ad-hoc than on scalar implicatures. Furthermore, we found that morphosyntactic competence was associated with success in both kinds of implicatures, while performance on mental state reasoning was positively associated with success on scalar but not ad-hoc implicatures.
Keywords: acquisition of pragmatics, scalar implicatures, ad-hoc implicatures, experimental pragmatics
Published: 17.09.2021; Views: 60; Downloads: 0
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Pseudopartitives vs. agreement attraction
M. Rita Manzini, Greta Mazzaggio, Ludovico Franco, 2020, original scientific article

Abstract: Pseudopartitive constructions are constructions of the form DP-of-NP, where the quantificational, collective or container DP head is interpreted as measuring the embedded NP. A verb can agree either with the head (Head Agreement) or with the embedded NP (Embedded Agreement). We argue that agreement alternations with pseudopartitives form part of lin- guistic competence. Specifically, we account for them in terms of a dual la- belling option open to of -DP/NP constituents, as either PPs (of projecting) or as NPs (of not projecting). Thus, we reject the conclusion that pseudopar- titives are to be accounted for in processing terms, and wholly subsumed un- der agreement attraction. In two studies, we investigate subject-verb num- ber agreement (Study 1, N = 103) and gender agreement (Study 2, N = 87), in an acceptability task with pseudopartitive constructions involving either a collective noun or an approximate quantifier, controlling for the nature of the head. Results show that Italian pseudopartitives allows embedded agree- ment, depending on the speaker and on the nature of the head (quantifiers better than collective Ns).
Keywords: pseudopartitives, agreement, number, gender, agreement at- traction
Published: 17.09.2021; Views: 57; Downloads: 0
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On the interpretation of scalar implicatures infirst andsecond language
Greta Mazzaggio, Daniele Panizza, Luca Surian, 2021, original scientific article

Abstract: We investigated the effect of presenting items in a foreign language (L2) on scalar- implicatures computation. To ensure that L2 processing was more effortful than the pro- cessing of the native language (L1), participants were late learners of L2 immersed in an L1 environment and they were presented with oral stimuli under time constraints. If scalar- implicatures computation requires cognitive effort one should !nd that people are more likely to compute scalar implicatures in L1 than in L2. In two experiments, participants were asked to perform a Sentence Evaluation Task either Italian, their native language, or in a foreign language (English or Spanish). The task included underinformative statements such as “Some dogs are animals” that, if interpreted in a pragmatic way (i.e., “Some but not all dogs are animals”) should be rejected as false. In both experiments, we found more rejections in the native language condition than in the foreign language conditions. These results provide support for models that maintain that scalar-implicature computation is effortful.
Keywords: scalar implicatures, pragmatics, default models, non-default models, second-language comprehension
Published: 17.09.2021; Views: 71; Downloads: 0
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Ad-hoc and scalar implicatures in children with autism spectrum disorder
Luca Surian, Francesca Foppolo, Remo Job, Greta Mazzaggio, 2021, original scientific article

Abstract: Previous studies found that people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) perform well on pragmatic inference tests that require the use of the linguistic scale . The present study extends previous research by testing two types of implicature: scalar implicatures, based on lexical scales, and ad-hoc implicatures, based on contextual scales. We tested 26 children with ASD aged 4–10 years (mean age 7.1) and 26 typically developing (TD) children – matched on chronological age and with a similar performance in non- verbal IQ and vocabulary – by means of a picture selection task for scalar and ad-hoc implica- tures. We also investigated the effect of children’s scores in standardized tests measuring non- verbal intelligence, lexical, and morphosyntactic abilities and Theory-of-Mind skills on their performance in the implicature tasks. Although more than half of the children with ASD performed above chance on both kinds of implicatures, their performance as a group was significantly lower than the performance of their TD peers. General cognitive abilities were found to affect the performance of children with ASD on both kinds of implicatures, and Theory-of-Mind reasoning skills were found to be linked to their performance on scalar, but not ad-hoc implicatures. We show that children with ASD have difficulty with both kinds of implicatures. These findings may have implications for explanatory theories of pragmatics as well as for clinical work with children with ASD.
Keywords: experimental pragmatics, scalar implicatures, high-functioning autism, theory of mind, development
Published: 17.09.2021; Views: 74; Downloads: 0
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Teoria e forme del testo digitale
2019, scientific monograph

Abstract: L’avvento del mezzo digitale ha profondamente trasformato tanto le dinamiche di produzione e diffusione del testo letterario, quanto la relativa prassi editoriale. Nonostante ciò, le questioni di fondo che pone la filologia conservano tutta la loro importanza: la volontà d’autore, la conservazione dei documenti, le modalità di pubblicazione sono sempre al centro di un dibattito che si è rivelato particolarmente vivace Oltreoceano. Il volume, che raccoglie saggi pubblicati dagli autori più influenti in materia, introduce alle principali questioni poste dalle varie forme della testualità digitale e dalla circolazione dei testi letterari nel mondo attuale. La digitalizzazione di massa, le nuove dinamiche di lettura, l’obsolescenza dei supporti digitali e le nuove forme di didattica e ricerca collaborativa sono solo alcuni dei temi qui affrontati.
Keywords: textual scholarship, digitalization, text, philology
Published: 17.09.2021; Views: 55; Downloads: 0
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Developmental aspects of Maximize Presupposition
Penka Stateva, 2021, published scientific conference contribution abstract (invited lecture)

Abstract: In this talk I present the results of an experimental study of young children's acquisition and use of the principle Maximize Presupposition (MP) in the context of the propositional attitude predicates (equivalent to) know and think. MP operates in the domain of pragmatics in order to distinguish among semantically equivalent propositions which have different presuppositional load in a given context (Heim 1991, Sauerland 2008). Given its nature, demonstrating a speaker’s sensitivity to MP is contingent on knowledge about presuppositional content within a relevant set of alternatives. We use a felicity judgement task to test the ability of 5- and 7-year-old Slovenian-speaking children to derive the factive presupposition of know and the pragmatic inference trigerred by think in accord with MP. The older group of children outperformed the younger group in both conditions manifesting a ceiling performance, while the younger group showed a more mixed pattern. Our results suggest that the anti-factivity inference is mastered on a par with the ability to derive the presupposition of factivity, as predicted by contemporary pragmatic theories. The discussion will also include questions about the influence of bilingualism on developing pragmatic abilities, negative transfer in the domain of pragmatics and its dependence on cross-linguistic morpho-syntactic variation among translational equivalents.
Keywords: Maximize Presupposition, implicated presupposition, early bilingualism, language acquisition, attitude verb
Published: 15.09.2021; Views: 81; Downloads: 1
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Tanto per intenderci. Breve introduzione alla pragmatica sperimentale.
Greta Mazzaggio, 2021, scientific monograph

Abstract: Ogni giorno, a volte senza nemmeno rendercene conto, comunichiamo alle persone attorno a noi molto più di quello che diciamo. Non veicoliamo messaggi solo attraverso le parole, ma, sorprendentemente, anche con ciò che “non diciamo”, e il contesto condiziona profondamente il messaggio. In che modo linguaggio e contesto si relazionano per risolvere le ambiguità, comprendere ciò che gli altri ci dicono implicitamente, apprezzare la metafora o l’ironia? Tutto questo sembra avvenire senza sforzo alcuno, ma è veramente così? A queste domande prova a rispondere una nuova disciplina di ricerca, la pragmatica sperimentale, la quale adotta metodologie scientifiche per studiare quanto la relazione fra parlanti e contesto sia alla base della comunicazione umana. In questo libro passeremo in rassegna molti fenomeni linguistici e pragmatici, cercando di analizzare come la ricerca possa essere d’aiuto nel capire i meccanismi che ci permettono di comunicare e cosa succede quando questi si inceppano.
Keywords: experimental pragmatics, italian, pragmatics, implicatures, presuppositions, pronouns, speech acts, gricean maxims, irony
Published: 14.09.2021; Views: 77; Downloads: 0
.pdf Fulltext (1,86 MB)

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