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What is an actual implicature?



An actual implicature is any potential implicature that is not canceled by its context.

Example (English)
  • The expression I think that some went has two potential implicatures:

    • The matrix sentence I think ... has the potential implicature "I don’t know [that some went]."
    • The complement clause ... some went has the potential implicature "not all went."

    Of the two potential implicatures, only I don’t know that some went is an actual implicature, because the other occurs in a complement clause that the matrix clause does not entail. If some went were uttered independently, as a main clause, its potential implicature ‘not all went’ would also be its actual implicature.

    Adapted from:

    Levinson 1983 134

  • Kinds
      Here are some kinds of actual implicatures:
      An actual implicature is a kind of

    Levinson 1983 133–134


    Gazdar 1979 55

    Context for this page:

    Go to SIL home page This page is an extract from the LinguaLinks Library, Version 5.0 published on CD-ROM by SIL International, 2003. [Ordering information.]

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