Reasonably Entitled To Draw English Language Essay

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The entailments are communicated without being said and are not dependent on the speakers intention. The entailments here are valid, because of the truth functions assigned to them. In other words, entailment is based firmly on the notion of truth.


Implicature is a technical term in pragmatics coined by H.P.Grice. It refers to inferred assumptions which cannot be directly derived from overt linguistic forms. Implicature is related to what is suggested by a speaker's utterance, eventhough it is neither expressed nor strictly said the speaker communicates meaning via implicature and the listener recognizes those communicated meanings via inference.


A husband says to his wife, 'Someone is knocking on the door.' This is said in a situation where both speaker and hearer can clearly hear the knocks on the door. This can be taken as a request to open the door.

There are two types of implicature: Conventional Implicature and Conversational implicature.

Conversational implicature is an indirect non-conventional speech act where what is meant by a speaker's utterance is not part of what is explicitly said. It is based on an addressee's assumption that the speaker is following the principle of co-operativeness and the conversational maxims for the achievement of communication.

Example: A husband and his wife getting ready to attend a party.

Husband: How much longer will you be?

Wife : Your favourite TV show is about to begin.

To interpret the utterance, the husband must go through a series of inferences based on principles that he knows his wife is using. The conventional response to his question would be a direct answer where the wife indicates some time frame in which she would be ready for the party. This would be a conventional implicature with a literal answer. Instead, the wife chooses not to extend the topic by ignoring the relevance maxim. The husband then concludes that she is telling him that she is not going to offer a particular time, or does not know, but she will be long enough for him to watch his favourite TV show.

Conversational implicatures include two types: generalized implicautres (no special knowledge is required in the context) and particularized implicatures (special knowledge is required in a special context in which only the speaker and the hearer understand).


Cancellation/Cancellability is one of the characteristics of conversational implicatures. An implicature of one part of an utterance is said to be cancelled when another part of the utterance or a following utterance explicitly contradicts it. In other words, we can add further conclusions, cancelling the previous ones without causing any contradictions or logical problems.


Bob says to Janet: 'It's a bit hot in here.'

Both Janet and Bob know that it is hot, because the heater is on in that room. Besides, Janet shares with Bob the assumption that if they turn off the heater, it will stop being hot (all these are premises depending on the general knowledge of Janet- the hearer.) So, Janet infers that what Bob implies by saying 'it's hot in here' is 'I would like you to turn off the heater.' (This is the implicature)

However, if Bob decides to cancel the implicature, it would not be unexpected. So, Bob can say, 'It's a bit hot in here, but I don't want you to turn off the heater.'(He can add further explanations such as 'I'd rather take off my jacket,' and the phrase will be perfectly fine.

N.B Conventional implicatures are non-cancellable: They are commitments and may give rise to entailments.


According to Grice's theory, the co-operative principle is the overriding social rule which speakers generally try to follow in conversation.

The co-operative principle indicates that the speaker and the listener must speak co-operatively and mutually accept one another to construct meaningful conversations: the fact that speakers are assumed to follow the co-operative principle is used by hearers in making inferences from the utterances they hear.

The co-operative principle encompasses four specific (Gricean) maxims: Quantity, Quality, Relevance and Manner.

N.B I f the participants are uncooperative, it means that one of the conversational maxims is flouted.


The Maxim of Relevance, also called the maxim of Relation, is one of the four conversational maxims of the Cooperative Principle. According to this maxim, you have to stay on the topic; in other words, make sure that your contribution is relevant to the conversation in the sense that it fits what is talked about. If someone asks you 'How are?' and you say 'I hate this city', then you are not playing

by the rules; you are expected to make a contribution that is somewhat related to the topic at hand.


According to this maxim, when talking people are expected to give just enough information to get their point across (people should not provide too much or too little information). In other words, When engaged in conversation, the Maxim of Quantity requires you to make your contribution as informative as is required.


When a husband gets home from an important meeting and his wife asks, 'what happened today?'- the husband is expected to answer the question without providing too much detail ('The meeting started at 15:00pm, there were about 20 people present, I sat next to the boss, we first talked about….) nor too little information ('Not much.')


It is also called the maxim of Manner. This maxim requires to

Be perspicuous and specifically.

Avoid obscurity of expression.

Avoid ambiguity.

Be brief.

Be orderly.

So, your comments should be direct, clear, and to the point. You should avoid using vague or ambiguous language when speaking.


If Ghita asks her friend Kenza, 'How does my new dress look?' and Kenza responds 'it's interesting,' she has broken/flouted the maxim of clarity- she is not being clear and direct.

What do the notions entailment and implicature have in common? How do they di¬€er? What does it mean to say that implicatures are non-truth-conditional inferences?

Both entailments and implicatures are inferences. Yet, entailment is the kind of logical/reasonable inference from a sentence; whereas with implicatures conclusions/inferences are drawn from utterances on particular occasions and not from sentences.

If we compare entailments with implicaures, we will find that they differ at a number of levels:

Entailments are properties of sentences (they are a matter of sentence meaning).

Implicatures are properties of utterances (they are a matter of utterance meaning).

Entailment cannot be cancelled without contradiction.

(Conversational) implicature can be cancelled without resulting in contradiction.


The hostages were killed. Asserting a sentence and denying its

The hostages did not die. entailment results in contradiction.

Whereas: 'Some, in fact all of the spectators enjoyed the movie' is not actually a


Entailments are part of the conventional meaning of linguistic expressions.

(Conversational) implicatures are not part of the conventional meaning of linguistic expressions.

Entailments are truth-conditional (they are based firmly on the notion of truth.)

Implicatures are non-truth conditional (conversational implicatures are inferred on the basis of the content of what is said, not from its linguistic form.)

In entailments, meaning is explicit and literal.

In (conversational) implicatures meaning is implicit is calculated from the literal meaning plus the co-operative principle and the conversational maxims in a given context.

Implicatures are non-truth conditional inferences:

Implicature is a non-truth conditional aspect of speaker meaning that represents (part of) what is meant in a speaker's utterance without being part of what is said. What the speaker intends to convey is almost always far richer than what s/he directly expresses, as linguistic meaning underdetermines the communicated message. The speaker tacitly exploits pragmatic principles to bridge this gap.

Implicatures cannot be derived only on the basis of the surface structure or from the pragmatic principles like the maxims (they can be flouted). An utterance might have one literal semantic meaning, but, at the same time, many implicatures may be inferred from it, though they are not explicitly said.

An implicature can result through the ¬‚outing of one of the maxims by the speaker (B), in which the hearer (A) can infer something not explicitly said if the speaker (B) disregards one of the maxims (whether intentionally or not), though the hearer (A) assumes that the speaker is not doing so. Give an implicature of B's utterance in each of the following situations, and then identify the maxim(s) (i.e. relevance, informativeness, or clarity) that has/have been ¬‚outed (and thus which led the hearer to this implicature).

Note that none of the implicatures from B's utterances are actually entailed by the sentences uttered by B:




a- A: 'Professor, will you write a letter of recommendation for me?'

B: 'Certainly. I will say that you were always neatly dressed, punctual, and are

unfailingly polite.'

B has a sarcastic tone by means of which he wants to tease A. His purpose is to mock A who has no real professional qualifications.

QUALITY (not truthful)

b- A: 'How are you today?'

B: 'Oh, Lansing is the capital of Michigan.'

B finds A's question inappropriate (for some reason or other) and wants to evade it by changing the topic.


c- A: 'I'm not feeling very well today.'

B: 'There's a hospital across the street.'

B implies that s/he is sick of A's constant complaints.

B wants A to know that there is a hospital not far from their place; so A can go there to see a doctor.


d- A: 'What did you think of that new movie?'

B: 'Well, the costumes were authentic.'

B implies that s/he did not like the movie.

MANNER (ambiguity)

e- A: 'How did you get that car into the dining room?'

B: 'It was easy. I made a left turn when I came out of the kitchen.'

B seems to be making fun of A as they both sound to be talking about a toy and not a real car.


f- A: 'What colour did you paint your living room?'

B: 'I painted the walls o¬€-white to match the black sofa. The trimming will be gray

except by the door, which will be salmon to match the Picasso print I bought two years ago.'

B gives more information than is needed for legitimate communication. Some of the information provided is irrelevant to the question A asked. There is also a violation of the maxim of manner (unnecessary wordiness). B seems to be showing off/ B is so excited about the modifications he made that he wants to give A every single detail.


g- A: 'How's the weather?'

B: 'It's 86.7 degrees Fahrenheit. The air is humid, muggy, and the pavement is so hot I can feel it through my shoes.'

B is being too talkative- s/he gives more information than what is needed to answer A's question. Maybe what B tries is to implicate through flouting the maxim of quantity is that s/he is so angry, so tired and can no longer put up with the heat.

INFORMATIVENESS (unnecessary prolixity)

h- A: 'What's your recipe for a birthday cake?'

B: 'It should have icing. Use unbleached ¬‚our and sugar in the cake and bake it for an hour. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and beat in three fresh eggs.'

B is supposed to give A the recipe in an orderly way and give the baking stages in the actual order in which they should occur. So, B either does not know how to bake a birthday cake, or feels so excited about giving A the recipe that she mixes things up.


i- A: 'How do you like my new suit?'

B: 'Well, your shoes look nice.'

B avoids hurting A's feelings. So, instead of stating his opinion about the suit clearly and directly, he talks about A's shoes.


j- A: 'Have you done your homework and taken out the garbage?'

B: 'I've taken out the garbage.'

B's answer implies that s/he has not done the homework.

INFORMATIVENESS (brevity: insufficient information)

k- A: 'I may win the lottery for $83 million.'

B: 'There may be people on Mars, too.'

B is saying something that is clearly untrue and irrelevant to the conversation. By saying so, B is implying that A may NOT win the lottery (sarcasm).


4 -For each of the following ¬ll in an appropriate utterance for B which implicates (but does not entail) the indicated implicature. There may be several appropriate possibilities

a- A: 'Let's see if this store has what we are looking for.'

B: 'Come on… it's CHANNEL!'

OR: 'Once bitten, twice shy.'

OR: 'Oh, I have won the Jack Pot!'

OR: 'For God's sake, I'm not THAT rich.'

Implicature: The store sells expensive merchandise

b- A:'Why don't we have lunch in this restaurant?'

B: 'These pants look awful tight to me.

OR: 'You have gained some weight.'

OR: 'I'm going on a diet.'

Implicature: The food there is too fattening

c- A:'Are the Browns at home?'

B: 'Their car is in the driveway'.

OR: 'Look at that beautiful Volvo over there!'

Implicature:The Browns are usually home when their car is in the driveway

d- A: 'Should we turn right or left?'

B: 'Let's toss a coin.'

OR: 'I don't have a map.'

Implicature: B isn't sure which way to turn

e- A:'How is your physics course going?'

B: 'The teacher has not killed me yet.'

OR: 'Let's say it seems like Chinese to me.'

Implicature:B is having trouble in the course.

5-Think about the meaning relationship between the following pair of sentences.

a- Most birds are on the lawn.

b- Many birds are on the lawn logical entailment

There seems to be two kinds of meaning relationship between the two sentences: Scalar Impliacature and Entailment.

Scalar implicature occurs when certain information is communicated by choosing a word which expresses one value from a scale of values. From the highest to the lowest:

<all, most, many, some, few> (an implicational scale)

The principle of the scalar implicature is that when any form in a scale is asserted, the negative of all forms higher on the scale is implicated.

So, by using most in utterance (a), the speaker creates the implicature (+>not all.)

By using many in utterance (b), the speaker creates the implicatures (+>not all, +>not most.)

This is particularly obvious in expressing quantity.

There is a logical entailment relation that holds between the two sentences, as (a) is logically stronger than (b). So, the truth of (a) requires the truth of (b).

6- Consider the following exchange:

A: I may win the lottery for 83million dollars.

B: There may be people on Mars, too.

A: What are you? A kind of astronomer?

B originally triggered an implicature in her response to A's original statement. What effect does A's retort then have on the implicature originally triggered by B?

6- Consider the following exchange:

A: I may win the lottery for 83million dollars.

B: There may be people on Mars, too.

A: What are you? A kind of astronomer?

B originally triggered an implicature in her response to A's original statement. What effect does A's retort then have on the implicature originally triggered by B?

B is being ironic by violating the Quality Maxim (a maxim that requires not to say what you believe to be false). The literal meaning of the proposition "There may be people on Mars, too" is not true, and B's purpose is to mock A by implicating that A can by no means win 83million dollars. Such a reply seems to offend A who retorts, 'What are you? A kind of astronomer? A's ironic response seems to imply that he is aware of B's sarcasm.