Lecturer: Bob van Tiel, ZAS Berlin
In his Logic and conversation, Grice famously observed that communication is a cooperative enterprise: when we say something, it is thereby understood that our utterance addresses the goal of the conversation. In some cases, hearers make additional assumptions to align what a speaker says with the assumption of cooperativity. Thus, when someone says ‘Donald is an arse’, the hearer infers that the speaker uses the word ‘arse’ figuratively, because otherwise her utterance would not make much sense, and thus be uncooperative. Inferences that follow from the assumption of cooperativity are called conversational implicatures.
Over the past decades, conversational implicatures have consistently been at the forefront of pragmatic theorising. In this course, we provide an overview of this research. First, we consider the various theories of conversational implicatures that have been put forward. Afterwards, we discuss a number of implicature-related phenomena, with particular attention to their relation to the theories that we introduced. Throughout this course, we also consider relevant experimental work.