Topic 10: conversational implicature Introduction to Semantics.

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  • Topic 10: conversational implicature Introduction to Semantics

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  • Basic conceptsEntailmentInference

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  • Entailment A type of sense relationsDefinition:IF when Proposition A is true, Proposition B must therefore be true, THEN Proposition A ENTAILS Proposition B

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  • ExampleProposition 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.

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

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  • exampleProfessor: Have you done your homework and read chapter 4?Student: Ive done my homework. Is it reasonable to infer that the student has not read chapter 4?Does Ive done my homework entail Ive read chapter 4?

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  • implicatureAn 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 meaningHow 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.

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  • 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

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

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  • The maxims of the cooperative principleThe 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 obscurityavoid ambiguitybe briefbe orderly.

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

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  • The Gas StationA 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:

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  • Smiths Love LifeConversation: A: Smith doesnt seem to have a girlfriend these days. B: He has been paying a lot of visits to New York lately. Implicature: The cooperative principle:

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  • 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. Xs command of English is excellent, and his attendance at tutorials has been regular. Yours, etc." Implicature:

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