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cooperation and implicature

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on 7 October 2013

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Transcript of cooperation and implicature

Cooperation and Implicature
Speakers and listeners involved in a conversation are generally cooperating with each other.
Listeners normally have to assume that a speaker who says "my car" really does have the car.

The cooperative principle
Man: Does your dog bite?
Woman: No.
(the man reaches down to pet the dog. The dog bites the man`s hand)
Man: Ouch! Hey! You said your dog doesn`t bite.
Woman: He doesn`t. But that`s not my dog.
Maxims of the cooperative principle
Quantity
Listeners have to assume that the speaker is being cooperative and intend to communicate something. (it must be more than just what words means)
1. A hamburger is a hamburguer.
2. Business are business.
TAUTOLOGIES
If they are used in a conversation clearly the speaker intends to communicate more than is said.
Problems: Communication
The man`s assumption that more was communicated than was said.
It is not a problem of presupposition. "your dog" is true for both speakers.
1. make your contribution as informative as is required.
2.Do not make your contribution more informative than is required.
Quality
1.Do not say what you believed to be false.
2. Do not say that for which you lack adequate evidence.
Maxims of the cooperative principle
Relation
Be relevant
Manner
1. Avoid obscurity of expression.
2. Avoid ambiguity
3. Be brief
4. Be orderly
There are certain expressions that speakers use to mark that they may be in danger of not fully adhering to the principles.
HEDGES
a. As far as I know, they`re married.

b. I may be mistaken, but I thought I saw a wedding ring on her finger.

c. I`m not sure if it`s right, but I heard it was a secret ceremony in Hawaii.

d. He couldn`t live without her, I guess.
a. As you probably know, I am terrified of bugs.

b. So, to cut a long story short, we grabbed our stuff and run.

c. I won`t bore you with all the details , but it was an exciting trip.
the speaker is conscious of the quantity maxim.
the speaker is conscious of the quality maxim.
Markers tied to the expectation of relevance (maxim of relation). For example: when speakers says things like: "oh, by the way..." and go on to mention some potentially unconnected information during a conversation.
a. I don`t know if this is important, but some of the files are missing

b. Not to change the subject, but this is related to the budget?

a. This may be a bit confused, but I remember being in a car.

b. I`m not sure if this make sense, but the car had no lights.
The awareness of the expectations of MANNER may also lead speakers to produce hedges of this type.
Conversational Implicature
Charlene: I hope you brought the bread and the cheese.
Dexter: Ah, I brought the bread.
Dexter must intend that Charlene infers that what is not mentioned was no brought. In this case Dexter has conveyed more than he said via CONVERSATIONAL IMPLICATURE.
Generalized conversational implicatures
It is when no special knowledge is required in the context to calculate additional conveyed meaning
a. I was sitting in a garden one day. A child looked over the fence.
The implicatures that the garden and the child are not the speaker`s are calculated on the principle that if the speaker was capable of being more specific (quantity maxim) he would have said "my garden" or "my child"
Scalar Implicatures
Certain information is always communicated by choosing a word which expresses one value from a scale of values. The speakers selects a word from the scale which is the most informative and truthful. (quantity and quality)
a. I`m studying linguistics and I`ve completed SOME of the required courses..
SOME: creates an implicature. (not all)
b. They are SOMETIMES really interesting
SOMETIMES: not always/ not often
c. I got SOME of this jewelry in Hong Kong----umm, actually I think I got MOST of it there.
SOME: not most. But then she corrects herself by saying MOST. (not all)
Particularized Conversational Implicatures
Our conversations take place in very specific contexts in which locally recognized inferences are assumed.
Leila: Whoa! Has your boss gone crazy?
Mary: Let`s go get some coffee.
Mary infers some local reason: Her boss is nearby. Also Mary cannot answer the question in that context.
a. Bert: Do you like ice-cream?
Ernie: Is the Pope Catholic?
b. Bert: Do vegetarians eat hamburgers?
Ernie: Do chickens have lips?
Properties of conversational implicatures
a. You`ve won five dollars

b. You`ve won at least five dollars.
(SUSPEND)

c. You`ve won five dollars, in fact, you`ve won ten!
(CANCEL)

d. You`ve won five dollars, that`s four more than one.
(REINFORCE)
Conventionals Implicatures
They are not based on the cooperative principle or the maxims. They don`t depend on special contexts.
a. Mary suggest white, BUT I choose black.
But: implicature of contrast
b. He EVEN helped tidy up afterwards.
Even: Implicature of contrary to expectation
c. Dennis isn`t here YET.
Yet: The present situation is expected to be different
Full transcript