Conventional Implicatures: A Distinguished Class of Meanings

Christopher Potts

in The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Interfaces

Published in print February 2007 | ISBN: 9780199247455
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

Conventional Implicatures: A Distinguished Class of Meanings


This article takes the old definition of conventional implicatures (CIs) and argues that this singles out a distinct and pervasive phenomenon in natural language. It also addresses the multi-dimensional semantics for CIs. Then, the article seeks to build a case that (1) is not merely a new, perhaps partial, encoding of a more accepted kind of meaning, and to establish that it picks out some natural language facts. It shows that nominal appositives (NAs) provide solid evidence for the linguistic reality of the CI branch. Additionally, a description logic for natural-language expressions with CI dimensions is offered. The article explores the internal structures of NAs in order to see how to capture the conditions on the constructions using the multidimensional logic. By separating the at-issue and CI dimensions, the needed independence of the two classes of meaning is obtained without further stipulation.

Keywords: conventional implicatures; nominal appositives; natural language; multi-dimensional semantics; internal structures; multidimensional logic

Article.  9932 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Pragmatics ; Semantics

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