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On the pragmatics of contrast*

  • Eve V. Clark (a1)


In this paper, I review properties and consequences of the PRINCIPLE OF CONTRAST. This principle, which I have argued from the beginning has a pragmatic basis, captures facts about the inferences speakers and addressees make for both conventional and novel words. Along with a PRINCIPLE OF CONVENTIONALITY, it accounts for the pre-emption of novel words by well-established ones. And it holds just as much for morphology as it does for words and larger expressions. In short, Contrast has the major properties Gathercole (1989) proposed as characteristic of her alternative to Contrast.


Corresponding author

Department of Linguistics, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.


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Preparation of this paper was supported in part by the Sloan Foundation. I would like to thank Dwight Bolinger, Willem J. Levelt, Brian MacWhinney and Dan I. Slobin for raising some of the issues I address here, and in particular Herbert H. Clark for discussion of and comments on an earlier draft.

This article concludes a discussion initiated in JCL by Clark (1988) and continued by Gathercole (1989). Ed.



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On the pragmatics of contrast*

  • Eve V. Clark (a1)


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