Introduction to Pragmatics: Homework 1


Before doing this assignment, please read Chierchia and McConnell-Ginet (1990), Section 3, pp. 7-33. This will give you the theoretical background you need in order to construct the tests appropriately.

Other important links:


In this assignment, you will be collecting data from a native speaker of German on implication relations. You will look at eight sentence pairs, which are supposed to have the following properties:

(In the R sentences, the pair is reversed; A becomes B and B becomes A.)

We have created 5 lists of 8 sentence pairs, and the list that you should investigate depends on the last digit of your Matrikelnr.

        If the last digit of your Matrikelnr is...then you are in Group number...
 0 or 1 1
 2 or 32
 4 or 53
 6 or 74
 8 or 95

If you are in Group 3, then you will investigate sentence pairs U3, E3, P3, I3, RU3, RE3, RP3, and RI3. The sentence pairs are listed as part of the task description.

Then, follow these steps:
  1. Before interviewing your native speaker, write out a script for yourself specifying how you will ask the questions. Information about how to do this is in the task description.
  2. Find a native speaker of German. It should be someone who hasn't studied semantics or pragmatics before, and it may not be anybody in the class. Please conduct your interview one-on-one, with nobody else participating in the conversation.
  3. Print out (or copy) 8 copies of this form, one for each sentence pair, so you can record your informant's responses.
  4. Interview your informant, asking the questions that you have prepared. Note down their responses and any additional comments that they make in response to the questions.
  5. Enter the data you collect in the online form.

As you are entering in your data, you will also be asked to interpret the results a little bit. For each sentence pair, you should say what type of inference it appears to be, given the data you collected. Information on how to interpret the results will be given in class, and the reading will also help you with this.

The online form must be submitted before class on the day that it is due.

Your grade will be based on:

Total: 4 points per sentence pair times 8 sentence pairs = 32 points.

Email Liz ( or the TAs (, if you have any questions.