[LMB] OT: Implicature (second and last part)

Peter H. Granzeau pgranzeau at cox.net
Sat Jun 10 19:22:34 BST 2006

At 09:11 PM 6/9/2006, James Burbidge wrote:
>>So, to get back to Pete's original point: doesn't "last" mean "last out of
>>more than two"? Well, perhaps, but I'd be inclined to think that it's a
>>matter of implicature, rather than part of the inherent meaning of "last".
>It may depend on who's talking. I know that _I_ tend to use "former"
>and "latter" and "elder" and "younger" in place of "first", "last",
>"eldest", and "youngest" where there are only two in question.   But
>then, I'm still sentimental about the loss of the dual (and yes, I
>know that the comparative in that situation isn't a real dual).

One remaining dual, I guess:  between you and me, but among you, me, 
and the lamppost?

I do prefer the comparative (although "first" applies, too--I just 
don't like "last"), though, which was why I brought the subject 
up.  And (if I remember correctly), I didn't ask if "last" meant 
anything, I asked if "last" didn't imply more than two?  Comparatives 
when there are two, superlatives (including "last") when there are 
more than two. Unfortunately, there aren't any good words to use for 
a match race, except for ordinal numbers (first and second).

Regards, Pete
pgranzeau at cox.net 

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