28. Nov 2023
Leibniz-Zentrum Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft
Modeling (im)precision in context
Gemeinsame Veranstaltung mit der Arbeitsgruppe Digital Philology des Instituts für Europäische und Vergleichende Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft (EVSL)
Abstract: Speakers’ choice between linguistic alternatives often depends on the situation, a prime example involving level of precision at which numerical information is communicated. I will report on a production study in which participants report the time of an event in two different situations, and demonstrate that the results can be reproduced by a probabilistic game-theoretical model in which the speaker’s choice reflects a tradeoff between informativity, accuracy and hearer-oriented simplification. These findings shed light on the pragmatics of (im)precision, and the dynamics of situationally driven pragmatic variation more generally.