Comprehension of implicatures and humor in a second language

Naoko Taguchi, Nancy D. Bell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


This chapter reviews existing studies on comprehension of indirect meaning among second language (L2) users. Our review focuses on two areas of indirect meaning: conversational implicature and humor. Both types of indirect meaning are universal, but their form and content are often culture specific. L2 users’ abilities to comprehend implicature and humor are closely intertwined with their linguistic and pragmatic knowledge, as well as their understanding of cultural conventions and norms of interaction. In this chapter, we will first present theoretical frameworks of meaning comprehension: Cooperative Principle (Grice 1975), Relevance Theory (Sperber and Wilson 1995), the Socio-Cognitive Approach (Kecskes 2014), marked informativeness (Giora 1991), and the space-structuring model (Coulson and Kutas 2001). Then, we will survey empirical findings in L2 studies over the last three decades, focusing on factors affecting L2 comprehension (e. g., degrees of indirectness encoded in items, learners’ general proficiency, cognitive abilities, and target language experiences).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDevelopmental and Clinical Pragmatics
Publisherde Gruyter
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)9783110431056
ISBN (Print)9783110439717
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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