Pragmatics and Implicature in Language

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What is the primary function of the Htcleft construction in English?

To communicate what the speaker believes the listener may already be thinking

What is necessary for reference to be successful in a conversation?

Collaboration and cooperation between the speaker and listener

What is implied when a speaker says 'my car'?

The speaker actually has the car being mentioned

What is the purpose of the utterance in example [20b.]?

To attribute the foreground entailment to the listener

What is the assumption behind the Cooperation Principle?

Speakers and listeners are cooperating with each other

What is an example of more being communicated than is said?

The utterance in [20b.], 'It wasn't ME who took your money'

What is a key feature of conversational implicatures?

They are based on the cooperative principle

What does Bert assume about Ernie's behavior in their conversation?

That Ernie is being cooperative

What is the purpose of adding 'in fact' to an utterance?

To cancel the implicature

What is unique about conventional implicatures compared to conversational implicatures?

They are associated with specific words

What kind of implicature is involved in Ernie's response 'Obviously, yes!'?

Conversational implicature

How are conversational implicatures typically calculated?

By the listener through inference

What is a characteristic of conversational implicatures?

They are deniable

What is the implication of the English conjunction 'but'?

It implies a contrast between the information in p and q

What is the inferred meaning of Ernie's response 'Of course not!'?

The answer is 'no' and the question was unnecessary

What is the purpose of the cooperative principle in conversation?

To maintain a mutually respectful and informative conversation

What is a key difference between conversational and conventional implicatures?

Conversational implicatures are based on the cooperative principle, while conventional implicatures are not

What is the implication of saying 'You have won five dollars!'?

You have won exactly five dollars, no more or no less

Study Notes

Implicatures and Cooperation

  • In conversation, speakers can communicate more than they explicitly say, relying on the listener's inferences to understand the intended meaning.
  • The cooperative principle assumes that speakers and listeners are generally cooperating with each other, sharing knowledge and avoiding misleading information.

Htcleft Constructions and Foreground Entailments

  • An Htcleft construction in English allows the speaker to communicate what they believe the listener may already be thinking (foreground entailment).
  • Example: "It was ROVER that chased the squirrels" or "It wasn't ME who took your money".
  • The speaker can attribute the foreground entailment to the listener without stating it, attributing responsibility or accusation.

Conversational Implicatures

  • Conversational implicatures are calculated by listeners via inference, based on the cooperative principle and maxims.
  • Conversational implicatures can be:
    • Calculated by the listener
    • Suspended using expressions like "at least"
    • Cancelled by adding further information, following expressions like "in fact"
    • Reinforced with additional information
  • Conversational implicatures are deniable, and speakers can deny intended meanings.

Conventional Implicatures

  • Conventional implicatures are not based on the cooperative principle or maxims, but are associated with specific words.
  • Conventional implicatures result in additional conveyed meanings when certain words are used.
  • Example: The conjunction "but" implies contrast between two pieces of information.
  • Conventional implicatures do not rely on conversation or special contexts for interpretation.

This quiz tests your understanding of pragmatics and implicature in language, using examples from conversations to illustrate the concept.

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