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Topic 10: conversational implicature Introduction to Semantics.

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1 Topic 10: conversational implicature Introduction to Semantics

2 Basic concepts Entailment Inference

3 Entailment A type of sense relations Definition: IF when Proposition A is true, Proposition B must therefore be true, THEN Proposition A ENTAILS Proposition B

4 Example Proposition A: ‘John is a bachelor.’ Proposition B: ‘John is not married.’ IF A is true, B must be true. ‘John is a bachelor’ ENTAILS ‘John is not married.’

5 inference Any conclusion that one can reasonably draw from sentences or utterances. All entailments are inferences, but NOT all inferences are entailment.

6 example Professor: Have you done your homework and read chapter 4? Student: I’ve done my homework. Is it reasonable to infer that the student has not read chapter 4? Does ‘I’ve done my homework’ entail ‘I’ve read chapter 4’?

7 implicature An implicature is anything that is inferred from an utterance but that is not a condition for the truth of the utterance. (SIL) A concept of utterance meaning How speakers work out the indirect illocutions of utterances. NOT a form of inference because it cannot be predicted only by the sense relations between sentences.

8 Question: How does a hearer make reasonable inferences from an utterance when it does not in fact entail some of the inferences he makes? The Co-operative Principle

9 The co-operative principle The overriding social rules which speakers follow in conversation. How it works The speaker observes the co-operative principle and the hearer assumes that the speakers follow it.

10 The maxims of the cooperative principle The maxim of quantity: Make your contribution as informative as required; Do not make your contribution more informative than required. The maxim of quality: Do not say what you believe to be false; Do not say that for which you lack adequate evidence. The maxim of relation: Make your contribution relevant. The maxim of manner: Be perspicuous, and specifically: avoid obscurity avoid ambiguity be brief be orderly.

11 The flouting of the cooperative principle Assuming that the speaker is a bona fide (goodwill) speaker. Inference comes into play in the conversation.

12 The Gas Station A is standing by an obviously immobilized car and is approached by B; the following exchange takes place: A: I am out of petrol. B: There is a garage around the corner. Implicature: The cooperative principle:

13 Smith’s Love Life Conversation: A: Smith doesn’t seem to have a girlfriend these days. B: He has been paying a lot of visits to New York lately. Implicature: The cooperative principle:

14 The Letter of Recommendation A is writing a testimonial about a pupil who is a candidate for a philosophy job, and his letter reads as follows: “Dear Sir, Mr. X’s command of English is excellent, and his attendance at tutorials has been regular. Yours, etc." Implicature:

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