FACTORS INFLUENCING THE COMPREHENSION OF CONVERSATIONAL IMPLICATURES BY NATIVE AND NON-NATIVE SPEAKERS OF ENGLISH: AN EMPIRICAL STUDY INSPIRED BY BOUTON’S (1988)
Keywords:conversational implicature, implicature comprehension, Grice, intercultural communication, conversational maxims, L2 pragmatic competence
The main goal of the present study has been to examine implicature comprehension in native and foreign/second language speakers of English from different linguistic backgrounds. The project was inspired by an earlier work of Bouton (1988), whose objective was to measure the influence of cultural background on the ability to grasp implied meanings in English, by comparing native and non-native speakers' performance. A modified digital version of the original multiple-choice test (Bouton 1988) was used to collect the data. Gricean (1989) theory of conversational implicature served as a theoretical framework for the study. The quantitative analysis of the data collected from the speakers of 33 languages was compared against the original results and the scope of the analysis was expanded to incorporate the examination of other factors affecting implicature understanding in native and nonnative languages. The present results corroborate some of the earlier findings and suggest that language competence and cultural background are crucial factors in understanding implicated meanings.