Explicature and Implicature made simple

At this week’s Relevance Theory course Billy showed the distinction between:14797479_10209542546573885_2080976542_n

a) ‘implicature‘, Grice’s key term that captures what is implied and communicated (in addition to the linguistic meaning of words), and

b) ‘explicature‘, Wilson & Sperber’s (Relevance Theory) term for intentionally communicated (mostly) explicit content of utterances.

To illustrate that, we discussed the meaning of a number of examples (words, sentences and short exchanges) and the stronger or weaker implicatures they give rise to.

downloadMy favourite example is how many linguistic and contextual meanings are encoded in ‘coffee’. Here’s a possibility.

We discussed how linguistically encoded meaning and inferred meaning in context are in fact mutually feeding.

Next week we’ll look in more detail on how relevance theorists have aimed to account for figurative language and in particular metaphor (and irony). Feel free to join us!

More information about this FREE Relevance Theory short course here.

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