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The 5th Group




Implicature is a component of speaker meaning
that constitutes an aspect of what is meant in a
speakers utterance without being part of what is
Implicature accounts for what a speaker can
imply, suggest or mean, as distinct from what the
speaker literally says.
Implicature is one of the ways that one
proposition can be conveyed by a speaker
uttering or under appropriate.

John is meeting a woman this evening.
+> The woman John is meeting this evening is
not his mother, his sister or his wife.
Implicature includes two types which are
conversational implicature and conventional

Conversational Implicature is implications derived
on the basis of conversational principles and
assumptions, relying on more than the linguistic
meaning of words in a sentence.
A (conversationally) implicates B if it is the case
that uttering A in a certain conversational context
systematically suggests, everything else being
equal, that B is true. However, the implicature can
be called off (i.e., cancelled).

Student A: Do you like Linguistics?
Student B: Well, lets just say I dont jump for joy
before class.
+> A asked B about his feelings about the
class, and B said B didnt celebrate before the
class. It shows the uninterested feeling of B about
Linguistics subject.

Conversational implicatures are pragmatic

unlike entailments and presuppositions, they are
not tied to the particular words and phrases in an
utterance but arise instead from contextual
factors and the understanding that conventions
are observed in conversation.

The theory of conversational implicatures is

attributed to Paul Herbert Grice, who observed
that in conversations what is meant often goes
beyond what is said and that this additional
meaning is inferred and predictable. As an
illustration of what Grice was talking about,
consider the sentence in (1).

John ate some of the cookies
The sentence in (1) expresses the proposition that
John ate a portion of the cookies and is true just in
case it corresponds to the outside world.
Intuitively, all of the cookies still constitutes a
portion of the cookies. So the sentence in (1) is
true even if in the outside world John ate all of the
cookies. However, something interesting happens
when this sentence is uttered in a conversation
like (2).

A: John ate some of the cookies
B: I figured he would. How many are left?
It is clear from (2) that A conveys the literal
meaning of the sentence in (1), i.e., its semantic
content. It is equally clear that A impliesor at
least B infersthe proposition expressed by (3).

John didnt eat all of the cookies
You might suspect that what the word some really
means is something like a portion but not all, so
that the sentence in (1) literally means that John
ate a portion but not all of the cookies and (1)
entails (3). Let me show you that this is not the
case by comparing the sentences in (4).

a. John ate some of the cookies;
# in fact, he ate none of the cookies
b. John ate some of the cookies;
# in fact, he ate all of the cookies
In (4a), I cannot follow the sentence John ate some of the
cookies with the sentence in fact, he ate none of the cookies
because the second sentence contradicts the first sentence. In
other words, there is no way in which the world could
correspond to both sentences simultaneously. However, no such
contradiction arises in (4b) and the two sentences are mutually
consistent. This proves that (1) does not entail (3). If it did,
there would be a contradiction. That leaves us with an
intriguing puzzle. The meaning of (3) is not part of the literal
meaning of (1) and yet it is implicated by the utterance of (1). It
is a systematic inference by the addressee, one the speaker
does not try to discourage and therefore must intend. We note
this inference using the symbol +>, illustrated in (5).

John ate some of the cookies
+> John didnt eat all of the cookies
This inference obtains through a special reasoning process,
one that relies on our understanding of the conventions of
communicative exchangesor conversations. Lets assume
the speaker and addressee are in some sense cooperating
in this exchange to make it smoother and beneficial to
both. The speaker utters the sentence in (5) and in so
doing conveys its literal meaning. The speaker (in the spirit
of cooperation) is being as informative as he can in the
exchange and the addressee (assuming he is being
cooperative) believes this.

The addressee reasons that if the speaker had

known John ate all the cookies, he would have
said so. Since the speaker did not say so, then he
must know otherwise. In other words, the speaker
must know that John didnt eat all of the cookies.
So the addressee infersfrom what the speaker
said, from what the speaker didnt say, and from
the way in which cooperative exchanges take
placethat John didnt eat all of the cookies.

Grices Theory of Conversational

Grice proposed that participants in a
communicative exchange are guided by a
principle that determines the way in which
language is used with maximum efficiency and
effect to achieve rational communication. He
called it the Cooperative Principle.Conversational
implication devided into four types which are the
cooperative principle, generalize implicature,
scalar implicature, and particularized implicature.

The Cooperative Principle

According to Yule (1966) said that Make your conversational

contribution such as is required, at the stage at which it occurs,
by the accepted purpose or direction of the talk exchange in
which you are engaged. In other words, the listener presumes
that the speaker is being cooperative and is speaking truthfully,
informatively, relevantly, exactly, and appropriately.
This cooperative principle is an umbrella term for nine
components that guide how we communicate. These nine
components are grouped together into four categories, called
the Maxims of Conversation: the maxim of quality (truthfulness),
the maxim of quantity (informativeness), the maxim of relation
(relevance), and the maxim of manner (perspicuity).

Cooperative principle devided

into four types
The maxim of Quantity: give the right amount of information (not too little, not too much).
Make your contribution as informative as is required (for the current purposes of the
Do not make your contribution one that is true.
Example :
A: Are you at the office?
B: Yes, I am. You will see me at room 12 of Halley building
Quality: try to say only what is true (dont say that for which you lack adequate evidence;
dont say what you know to be false).
Do not say what you believe to be false.
Do not say that for which you lack evidence.
Example :
A: Do you think that smoking is good for health?
B: No, I think its not good for our health.
Relevance: make what you say relevant to the topic at hand.
Be relevant
Example :
A: why do you learn English?
B; Yes, I learn it because of my hobby

Manner: be clear (avoid ambiguity, excessive

wordiness, obscurity, etc.).
Avoid obscurity of expression.
Avoid ambiguity.
Be brief
Be orderly
Example ;
A: what do you think about Ha Long Bay?
B: I like Ha Long Bay, it has a lot of beautiful

Generalized Implicature
Generalized Implicature is a conversational
implicature that is inferable without reference to a
special context ( no special knowledge is required to
figure out the additional meaning). It means that a
generalized conversational implicature is one which
does not depend on particular features of the
context, but is instead typically associated with the
proposition expressed.
Example :
"Fred thinks there is a meeting tonight."
+> Fred doesnt know for sure that there is a
meeting tonight.

Scalar Implicature

Scalar implicature is greater detail of a particular sort of

implicatures, expressing quantity and terms are listed from the
highest to the lowest value. In the other hand, scalar implicature
is always communicated by choosing a word which expressed
one value from a scale of value. The basic of scalar implicature is
that when any form in a scale is asserted, the negative of all
forms higher on the scale is implicated.
I ate some of the cake => this sentence implies I did not eat
all of the cake
In the utterance some of the boys went to the party, the word
some implicates "not all of the boys went to the party."
The words none, some, and all form an implicational scale, in
which the use of one form implicates that the use of a stronger
form is not possible.

Particularized Implicature
Special knowledge is required in special context in which speaker and hearer
understand only. In another word, a particularized implicature is a conversational
implicature that is derivable only in a specific context.
Example 1 :
Vernon: Do you like Monica?
Bill: Shes the cream in my coffee.
+> Bills implicated message: yes, more than you know
Bill must be speaking metaphorically, and there must be a reason for doing so. A
simple yes apparently wasnt enough. Hes trying to tell Vernon that ordinary
words cant express what he feels for Monica, so hes using a metaphor to indicate
that his feelings are at another level.

Example 2 :
Where is my book?
Your young sister is drawing something.
The action draw of young sister would ordinarily not convey anything about her
book, so implicature in this case depends on the context as well as the utterance

Hedges and Flouting (Supplemental)

There is a way for the speaker to tactfully opt out of a maxim

using a special word or phrase called a hedge. These hedges are
used to signal the addressee not to read anything into the
speakers disregard of one of the maxims. Using a hedge, the
speaker effectively says he is not implicating q.
Hedge a phrase that eliminates or at least mitigates one of the
Quantity As far as I know; Im not sure if this is true, but; I may
be wrong, but .
Quality As you probably already know; I cant say any more; I
probably dont need to say this, but .
Relation Oh, by the way; Im not sure if this is relevant, but...; I
dont want to change the subject, but .
Manner: Im not sure if this is clear, but; I dont know if this
makes sense, but; This may be a bit tedious, but.

There is another way in which the speaker can

signal to the addressee that he is going to ignore
a maxim. It is called a flout and it too carries a
conversational implicature, sometimes called a
conversational implicatureF.
Flouting a maxim is typically done by uttering
something absurdly false, wholly uninformative,
completely irrelevant, or abstruse so that the
addressee understands the speaker is implying
something entirely different.
This is how metaphors get resolved.

A speaker who makes it clear that they are not
following the conversational maxims is said to be
flouting the maxims and this too gives rise to an
implicature. That is, the addressee understands
the speaker flouted the maxims for a reason and
infers further meaning from this breach of
Here are some examples:

Flouting Quality
A: What if the USSR blockades the Gulf and all the oil?
B: Oh come now, Britain rules the seas! [sarcasm]
+> There is nothing Britain can do about it
A: Tehrans in Turkey, isnt it, teacher?
B: And Londons in Armenia, I suppose
+> Tehran is not in Turkey
Flouting Quantity
War is War
+> Terrible things happen in war. Thats its nature and theres no use
lamenting that tragedy.
Either John will come or he wont
+> I dont care whether or not John comes

Flouting Relation
A: (Letter of Recommendation) What qualities does John have for this
B: John has nice handwriting.
+> John is not qualified for the job
A: Susan can be such a cow sometimes!
B: Lovely weather, isnt it?
+> B finds As comment inappropriate (for some reason or other)

Flouting Manner
The Corner of Johns lips turned slightly upwards
+> John did not exactly smile
Miss Singer produced a series of sounds corresponding closely to an
aria from Rigoletto
+> Miss singer did not perform well.