Presumptive Meanings: The Theory of Generalized Conversational Implicature

Presumptive Meanings: The Theory of Generalized Conversational Implicature

by Stephen C. Levinson
     
 

When we speak, we mean more than we say. In this book Stephen C. Levinson explains some general processes that underlie presumptions in communication. This is the first extended discussion of preferred interpretation in language understanding, integrating much of the best research in linguistic pragmatics from the last two decades. Levinson outlines a theory of… See more details below

Overview

When we speak, we mean more than we say. In this book Stephen C. Levinson explains some general processes that underlie presumptions in communication. This is the first extended discussion of preferred interpretation in language understanding, integrating much of the best research in linguistic pragmatics from the last two decades. Levinson outlines a theory of presumptive meanings, or preferred interpretations, governing the use of language, building on the idea of implicature developed by the philosopher H. P. Grice. Some of the indirect information carried by speech is presumed by default because it is carried by general principles, rather than inferred from specific assumptions about intention and context. Levinson examines this class of general pragmatic inferences in detail, showing how they apply to a wide range of linguistic constructions. This approach has radical consequences for how we think about language and communication.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780262122184
Publisher:
MIT Press
Publication date:
12/28/1999
Series:
Language, Speech and Communication Series
Pages:
498
Product dimensions:
7.12(w) x 9.08(h) x 1.26(d)

Meet the Author

Stephen C. Levinson is Director of the Language and Cognition Group at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in the Netherlands.

Table of Contents

Conventions
Preface
Note to Students
Acknowledgments
Introduction1
Ch. 1On the Notion of a Generalized Conversational Implicature11
1.0The Argument11
1.1Grice's Program12
1.2Three Layers versus Two in the Theory of Communication21
1.3The Argument from Design: The Maxims as Heuristics27
1.4A Typology of GCIs35
1.5Non-monotonicity and Default Reasoning42
1.6Against Reduction of GCIs to Nonce Speaker-Meaning54
1.7Generalized Implicature and Stable Patterns of Lexicalization64
1.8Conclusions71
Ch. 2The Phenomena73
2.1Introduction73
2.2The Q Principle75
2.3Exploring I-Inferences112
2.4M-Implicatures and Horn's Division of Labor135
2.5The Joint Effect of Q-, I- and M-Implicatures153
Ch. 3Generalized Conversational Implicature and the Semantics/Pragmatics Interface165
3.1Background165
3.2The Received View: Semantics as Input to Pragmatics170
3.3Intrusive Constructions198
3.4The Argument from Reference217
3.5Some Implications236
3.6Conclusions259
Ch. 4Grammar and Implicature: Sentential Anaphora Reexamined261
4.1Grammar and Implicature261
4.2Implicature and Coreference267
4.3Binding Theory and Pragmatics280
4.4The B-then-A Account: Synthesis of the A-First and B-First Accounts345
4.5Conclusions359
Ch. 5Epilogue367
5.1Predictive Power of the Theory of GCIs368
5.2Presumptive Inference and General Reasoning371
5.3Role of GCIs in Linguistic Theory374
Notes379
References425
Name Index451
Subject Index457

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