[LMB] OT: implicature

WILLIAM A WENRICH wawenri at msn.com
Fri Jun 9 12:46:01 BST 2006

Jim Parish wrote:

<Snipped-Good stuff, but I'm afraid of the Thug!>

>So this is what distinguishes conversational implicature from logical 
>Implication and presupposition: if A implicates B, then a reasonable 
>person, hearing A, may conclude B; however, the speaker of A may 
>extend his/her comment to deny B, without contradicting xself. Further, 
>the speaker of A, knowing B to be false but not saying so, is not making 
>a false statement, but a misleading one.

This reminds me of RAH's discussion on lying. A lie not said but implied with: "Tell the right amount of the truth and shut up."  Another on his last was: "Tell the truth, possibly the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, but do it in a way that will not be believed."

This is one of my pet peeves with courtroom dramas - the lawyer asks a question and demands a yes or no answer. The witness declares that the question cannot be reliable answered that way, but is forced to go along with an implied lie by the judge. The witness has sworn to tell the whole truth, and is being prevented from doing so. I'm glad I've never been in that position, I'd probably spend time in jail for contempt.

Bill Wenrich
"...a hard heart is no infallible protection against a soft head."
  -C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man

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