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CFI, Rabat

Module: Linguistics


Pragmatics: Implicature

Trainee: M. Bedraoui Trainer: Mr. A. Oulbouch
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Objectives
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We will be able to


1. get acquainted with implicature.
2. distinguish between an implicature and an entailment.
3. identify types of implicatures.
4. discuss the implications of implicature for ELT.
Outline
I. What is an Implicature?
1. Implicature and Entailment
2. Examples
3. Features of Implicatures

II. What are the Types of Implicature?
1. Conversational Implicature
1. The Cooperative Principle
2. The Conversational Maxims
3. Types of Conversational Implicature

2. Conventional Implicature
III. How can knowledge about implicature be useful in
foreign language teaching?
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Question 1

What is an Implicature?
Food for thought
What does
she say?
I want to know
whether you are
going to wear that
tie.
Sentence
meaning
Semantic
meaning
entailment
What does
she mean?
You are not really
planning to go in
public wearing
that tie, are you?
Speaker meaning
Pragmatic
meaning
implicature
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Implicature and Entailment
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What is an entailment?


What is an implicature?

a meaning that is present on every
occasion when an expression
occurs.
(Grundy: 2000, 73)

any meaning which is conveyed
indirectly or through hints, and
understood implicitly without ever
being explicitly stated.

(Grundy: 2000, 73)


A: Would you like some coffee?
B: It will keep me awake.

Entailment=>



Implicature +>

Implicature and Entailment
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Entail: is meant to cover the
family of verbs that refer to
the literal meaning of a
sentence, such as say and
assert.
Implicate: is meant to cover
the family of verbs such as
imply, suggest, mean,
which refer to the meaning
of an utterance as
understood in a given
context.
Implicature: a neology by
Paul Grice (1913- 1988)

He was a British language philosopher
who made remarkable contributions
to the field of pragmatics.

His most influential work relates to his analysis of
speaker meaning and his account of conversational
implicature.

His legacy is encapsulated in such widely used phrases
as Gricean Cooperative Principle, Gricean Maxims,
Gricean Intention, and Gricean Reasoning.
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More Examples
A: Will Sally be at the meeting this afternoon?
B: Her car broke down.
Entailment=>.. Implicature+>.


A: Do you like linguistics?
B:. Well, lets just say I dont jump for joy before class
Entailment => Implicature +>..


An advertisement of Coca-Cola says:
Its the taste.
Entailment => Implicature +>.
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Implicatures are context-dependent
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+> It is the unique taste that people look
for.
A slogan in an
advertisement for Coca
Cola
+> I found the taste awful.
An utterance made by a
daughter to answer why she
left her sandwich intact.
+> The product is in vogue .
An utterance made by a
shop assistant about a
product
An expression with a single meaning (expressing the same
proposition) can give rise to different conversational implicatures in
different contexts.

Example: Its the taste.


Implicatures are cancellable
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An implicature can be cancelled if additional
premises are added without causing
contradictions.





John is visiting Pat. He and Pat are watching TV. in a room with
open windows. John says:
Its a bit chilly here
+> I want to have the windows closed
=> The temperature is low.
John may go on and add:
Its a bit chilly in here, but I do not want you to close the
windows.
Task 1
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In some cases, the second sentence is semantically
related to the first (an entailment or a
presupposition). In other cases it is an implicature .
Identify the meanings of the second sentences.

Question 2

What are the Types of
Implicature?
Types of Implicature
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Implicature
Conversational
Implicature
Conventional
implicature
Types of Implicature
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Implicatures
Conversational
Particularized
Generalized
Indefinite

Scalar Conventional
Conversational Implicature
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Conversational implicatures are the assumptions suggested by
the speaker and inferred by the hearer in an exchange
situation. These assumptions are not encoded in the words
said but are generated by the interlocuters cooperation to
achieve rational communication.
Speaker Hearer
Cooperatio
n
The cooperative
principle
The Cooperative
Principle
It is an umbrella term
for the principles that
guide our
conversation.
Grice called these
rules Maxims of
Conversation.
The maxims are:
The Quality Maxim
(truthfulness)
The Quantity Maxim
(informativeness)
The Relevance
Maxim

Manner Maxim


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Make your conversational
contribution such as is required, at
the stage which it occurs, by the
accepted purpose or direction of the
talk exchange in which you are
engaged.
Meet certain
principles
Relevance
Truthfulness
Informativeness
manner
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Do not say what
you believe to
be false
A: I might win the lottery.
B: Yes, and pigs might fly!
+>



Flouting the
maxim

implicature
To flout a maxim: to blatantly fail to fulfill
it and the hearer recognizes that the
maxim is not fulfilled.
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Do not say that
for which you
lack adequate
evidence

A: Where is he right now?
B: People say he is in
prison.
+>..







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Make your
contribution to a
conversation as
informative as
possible
Do not make your
contribution more
informative than is
required.
A: How are you?
B: my recent medical
check up came out
negative, my wife was
fired, my dog is ill and I
am soon expecting my
fifth child.
+>..



A: Where are you going?
B: Out.
+>.



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Be
relevant
A: Where's the roast beef?
B1: The dog looks happy
+>


A: Is the chicken good?
B: I once tried one of their
entrees. Now I always go
for the salad.
+>.
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Avoid
obscurity of
expression
Avoid
ambiguity
Be brief
Be orderly
A: Let's get the kids something.
B: OK, but not I-C-E C-R-E-A-
M.
+>.


A: Did John like the joke?
B: His lips turned slightly
upwards.
+>.


A: what happened?
B: The teacher came in and the
students left.
+>
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1. Which maxim is being flouted in the
conversations?
2. Are the implicatures successfully inferred in both
conversations?

Task 2
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Recover the implicatures suggested by the Bs
utterances and identify which maxims are flouted.
Types of Conversational Implicatures
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Conversational
implicatures
Particularized
CI
Generalized CI
Particularized Conversational Implicature
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Particularized
conversational implicatures
are the inferences which are
worked out while drawing
totally on the specific
context of the utterance.
Leila: Wow! Has your boss
gone crazy?
Mary: Let go get some coffee
Leila has walked into Marys office
and noticed all the work is on her
desk. She has addressed Mary
without realizing that the Boss is in
some corner in the office.
A: I m going to the prison
tomorrow.
B: Will 200Dhs do?
A is visiting a detainee and proposing
to B to help in funding the shopping
to be done.
Generalized Implicature
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While working out
generalized CI no special
background knowledge of the
context of utterance is
required in order to make the
necessary inferences.
Yule (1996:40)
A: Did you invite Bella
and Cathy?
B: I invited Bella.
+>


A: Did you buy bread and
cheese.
B: I bought bread.
+>
Generalized Conversational Implicatures
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I was sitting in a garden one day. A child looked over
the fence.
+>

An X +> not speakers X

There is a car in front of the house.
+>..


Phrases with indefinites
a/an
Scalar Implicatures
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Scalar implicatures are given rise by the use of certain
scales of value. The use of one expression indicates
one point on the scale and cancels the other
expressions indicating higher points on the scale.

<All, most, some, few>
<always, often, sometimes>
<certain, probable, possible>
<do badly, progress, do well>





Some of the boys went to the party.
+>not all of the boys went to the party.

Scalar Implicature
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The courses are sometimes interesting.
+> the courses are not always/ not often interesting.



Its possible that they were delayed.
+> Its not certain/ not probable that they were
delayed.

Scalar Implicature
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I cant lend you 10$.
+> I cant lend you more 10$.
Types of Implicatures
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Implicatures
Conversational
Particularized
Generalized
Indefinite

Scalar Conventional
Conventional Implicatures
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Conventional implicatures are associated with specific words and
result in additional conveyed meanings when those words are
used.

She put on her clothes, and left the house.
p q
+> After she had put on her clothes, she left the house.
+> q after p

She was happy and ready to work.
p q
+> she was both happy and ready to work.

+> p plus q

Conventional Implicatures
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John is poor but happy.
p q



+> In contrast to what


John should feel as a
poor person, he is
happy.

P but q +> p is in
contrast to q

Conventional Implicatures
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Denis isnt here yet.
not p





+> Denis is expected to
be here later.
Not p yet +> p is
expected to be true
later.

Conventional Implicatures
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Even Mary came to the


party.
p




+> contrary to what


was expected, Mary
came to the party.

Even p +> contrary


to what is expected,
p.

Task 3
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Recover the implicatures that these utterances may
give rise to and identify their types. Sometimes, one
utterance may suggest implicatures of different types

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Question 3

In what lesson components can our knowledge about
implicature be relevant and useful?
Implications for Foreign Language Teaching
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Bouton (1994) found out that non-native students had
performed significantly poorer in interpreting conversational
implicatures than native ones.

Boersma (1994) showed that non-native students could
interpret conversational implicatures after an explicit formal
teaching on how inferences can be drawn from utterances.

Lee (2000) pointed out that high linguistic proficiency would
allow students to derive the same interpretations as native
speakers, though they might display a slower pace at working
out implicatures.

A number of studies (Alcon, 2005; House, 1996; Rose& Ng
Kwai-fun, 2001; Tateyama, 2001) provide evidence for the
benefit of both implicit and explicit teaching of pragmatic
aspects of language in foreign language contexts.

Implications for Foreign Language Teaching
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Designing the
instructional materials
Teaching
Testing
Designing the Instructional Material
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Rich pragmatic
content
Examples of
different types of
implicatures

Media clips from
TV shows and
movies
Comic strips
Culturally rich
material
Comic Strips
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Teaching
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Implicit
instruction
Using questions
to elicit
inferences
Matching
exercises
(utterances and
appropriate
inferences)
Multiple choice
questions on the
implicatures
contained in
reading and
listening texts
Explicit
instruction
Consciousnes
s- raising
activities
Analyzing
jokes, puns
and proverbs


Discussing
interpretations
Teaching Functions
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Off-record Requests:.
indirect requests that eliminate the potential for the
speaker to impose on the addressee by allowing the
addressee to draw an implicature from the statement
It's hot in here. (Open the window.)
My car is in the shop. (Give me a ride.)
I really dislike chicken. (Serve a different meat
instead.)
You look nice in blue. (Wear blue more often.)
Washing your hands before eating is recommended.
(Wash your hands before eating.)
All reports are due tomorrow. (Finish your report by
tomorrow.)

Testing
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Teachers need to consult a checklist when designing tests targeting the
students pragmatic ability to interpret implicatures.







Do the question items require the use of inference skills
that were already taught?

Are the targeted implicatures well-contextualized?

Is there any grading of questions in terms of the difficulty
level?

Do the targeted implicatures have one answer or multiple
answers?




References
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Ishihara, N., & Cohen, A. D. (2010). Teaching and learning pragmatics: Where language and
culture meet. Harlow, England: Pearson Longman.

Griffiths, P. (2006). An introduction to English semantics and pragmatics. Edinburgh: Edinburgh
University Press. Alcon.

Grundy, P. (1995). Doing pragmatics. London: E. Arnold.


S. E., & Martinez, F. A. (2008). Investigating pragmatics in foreign language learning, teaching and
testing. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.

Yule, G. (1996). Pragmatics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


http://userwww.sfsu.edu/kbach/Bach.Grice.pdf
http://philpapers.org/rec/HORI
http://wiim.wiwi.tu-dresden.de/die_tu_dresden/fakultaeten/philosophische
fakultaet/iph/thph/braeuer/lehre/implikaturen/Bach%20TopTen%20Misconceptions.pdf

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Flouting the
ambiguity maxims
puns jokes
The Maxims of Conversation
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In a conversation, the speaker may take one of these
options:
S/He may observe the maxims. (This is the default
assumption)

S/He may flout a maxim, to the full knowledge of the
addressee. (This gives rise to conversational implicatures)

S/He may violate a maxim, e.g., lie.