Conversational Implicature

Topics: Pragmatics, Paul Grice, Gricean maxims Pages: 4 (880 words) Published: December 5, 2012
Implicature is a theoretical construct which was first introduced by Grice in the William James Lectures at Harvard in 1967 and was later published in 1975 under the title Logic and Conversation. Grice’s basic idea was to clarify the difference between what is expressed literally in a sentence and what is merely suggested or hinted at by the utterance of the same string of words. To distinguish the latter from the former, Grice (1975) uses the neologisms implicate and implicature, while he refers to the linguistically coded part of utterance content as what is said (Bach, 2012).

“An Implicature is something meant, implied, or suggested which is distinct from what is said” (Davis, 2005:1). Implicature can be part of a sentence meaning, or can be dependent on conversational context, and it can be conventional or unconventional (Ibid). Grice (1975) differentiates between two main types of implicatures which are Conventional Implicature and Conversational Implicature which is going to be the focus of this paper. Conventional Conversational Implicature

implicature is an implicature that is determined by the conventional meaning of the words used, which results in determining what is said (Grice, 1975: 44). According to Lycan (2012), the conventional meaning of a sentence goes beyond the conversation and incorporates other conventional devices. The devices in conventional implicature play a vital role in the meaning of the utterances of the speaker (Ibid). Grice (1975:44) provides the following example of conventional implicature:

He is an Englishman; he is, therefore, brave.
In this sentence, the meaning of therefore creates an implicature. It implicates causality. Grice observes that the speaker who uses the previous example implicates, but does not say, that the fact that man is brave follows from his being an Englishman. The conventional implicature here is attributed to the presence of the lexical item therefore (ibid). Conversational implicature, on the...
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