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

Jim Parish jparish at siue.edu
Sat Jun 10 19:45:41 BST 2006

James Burbidge wrote:
> 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)

The problem, as I see it, is this. How do you phrase it, when you want a 
statement that applies to the second of two and also to the last of more 
than two? I don't see that there's any alternative to "last" (unless you 
want to be unusually verbose); that being the case, I see "second of 
two" as part of the meaning of "last", sometimes suppressed by the 
conventions of implicature (just as the inclusion of "all" within "some" is 
usually suppressed, in ordinary speech).

Jim Parish

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