Conversational Implicature

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  • Conversational implicature is a type of inference that emerges from a speech act but not directly through the meaning of the speaker's words, according to Herbert Paul Grice. So, when Bill answers Alice's question in (1), one could draw the implicature that his answer is “no,” even though he never said so outright:

    (1) Alice: Has Monica's book come out yet?

    Bill: She has corrected the proofs.

    Conversational implicature is to be distinguished from conventional implicature, which refers to pragmatic information that is encoded in language. For instance, consider the conjunction but in George Clooney is famous, but he is nice; while having the same meaning as and, but contrasts the two conjuncts conventionally through language. As can be seen, Grice highlighted the distinction between core linguistic ...

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