SEMANTICS AND PRAGMATICS
COOPERATION AND IMPLICATURE
LECTURER : AINUL FAIZA, S.S
ENGLISH DEPARTMENT COLLEGE OF TEACHER
TRAINING AND EDUCATION (STKIP) YDB LUBUK
COOPERATION AND IMPLICATURE
Cooperation is the process by which the components of a system work
together to achieve the global properties. Examples can be found all around
Implicature is anything that is inferred from an utterance but that is not a
condition for the truth of the utterance.
Implicated , is a technical term in the pragmatics subfield of linguistics,
coined by H. P. Grice, which refers to what is suggested in an utterance, even
though neither expressed nor strictly implied (that is , entailed) by the
utterance. For example :
• The sentence "Mary had a baby and got married" strongly suggests that
Mary had the baby before the wedding, but the sentence would still be
strictly true if Mary had her baby after she got married. Further, if we add
the qualification "— not necessarily in that order" to the original
sentence, then the implicated is cancelled even though the meaning of the
original sentence is not altered.
• Some of the boys were at the party.
on the sentence implicate, it’s mean not all of the boys were at the party
The cooperative principle is a principle of conversation that was proposed by Grice
1975, stating that participants expect that each will make a ” conversational
contribution such as is required, at the stage at which it occurs, by the accepted
purpose or direction of the talk exchange.”
The cooperative principle can be divided into four maxims, called the Grecian maxims,
describing specific rational principles observed by people who obey the cooperative
principle; these principles enable effective communication. Grice proposed four
conversational maxims that arise from the pragmatics of natural language. The
Grecian Maxims are a way to explain the link between utterances and what is
understood from them.
The cooperative principle goes both ways: speakers (generally) observe the
cooperative principle, and listeners (generally) assume that speakers are
observing it. This allows for the possibility of implicates, which are meanings that
are not explicitly conveyed in what is said, but that can nonetheless be inferred.
For example, if Alice points out that Bill is not present, and Carol replies that Bill
has a cold, then there is an implicated that the cold is the reason, or at least a
possible reason, for Bill's absence; this is because Carol's comment is not
cooperative — does not contribute to the conversation — unless her point is that
Bill's cold is or might be the reason for his absence. (This is covered specifically by
the Maxim of Relevance).
The cooperative principle
A hedge is a mitigating device used to lessen the
impact of an utterance. Typically, they
are adjectives or adverbs, but can also consist
of clauses. It could be regarded as a form
• There might just be a few insignificant problems
we need to address. (adjective)
• The party was somewhat spoiled by the return of
the parents. (adverb)
• I'm not an expert but you might want to try
restarting your computer. (clause)
Hedges may intentionally or unintentionally be employed in
both spoken and written language since they are crucially
important incommunication. Hedges help speakers and
writers indicate more precisely indicate how Grecian,
maxims (expectations of quantity, quality, manner, and
relevance) are observed in assessments. For example,
1. All I know is, smoking is harmful to your health.
In (1), it can be observed that information conveyed by the
speaker is limited by adding all I know and as you probably
know. By so saying, the speaker wants to inform that she is
not only making an assertion but observing the maxim of
quantity as well.
2. They told me that they are married.
If the speaker only says that “they are married” and they do
not know for sure if they are married, they may violate the
maxim of quality since they say something that they do not
know to be true or false. Nevertheless, by adding they told
me that, the speaker wants to confirm that they are
observing the conversational maxim of quality.
3. I am not sure if all of these are clear to you, but this
is what I know.
The above example (3) shows that hedges are good
indications the speakers are not only conscious of the
maxim of manner, but they are also trying to observe
4. By the way, you like this car?
By using by the way, what has been said by the speakers
is not relevant to the moment in which the conversation
takes place. Such a hedge can be found in the middle of
speakers’ conversation as the speaker wants to switch to
another topic that is different from the previous one.
Therefore, by the way functions as a hedge indicating
that the speaker wants to drift into another topic or to
stop the previous topic.
conversational implicature is an implicature that is part of lexical
item’s or expression’s agreed meaning, rather than derived , from
principles of language use , and part of the conditions for the truth
of the items or expressions.
A speaker using the word but between coordinate clauses thinks that
some contrast or concession relation is relevant between the clauses.
Paul Grice identified three types of general conversational implicated:
1. The speaker deliberately flouts a conversational maxim to convey
an additional meaning not expressed literally.
2. The speaker’s desire to fulfill two conflicting maxims results in his
or her flouting one maxim to invoke the other.
3. The speaker invokes a maxim as a basis for interpreting the
The conversational implicature is a message that is not found
in the plain sense of the sentence. The speaker implies it. The
hearer is able to infer (work out, read between the lines) this
message in the utterance, by appealing to the rules governing
successful conversational interaction.
An example of what Grice meant by conversational
implicature is the utterance:
“Have you got any cash on you?”
where the speaker really wants the hearer to understand
“Can you lend me some money? I don't have much on me.”
In pragmatics, scalar implicature, or quantity implicature is
an implicature (conversational inference) that attributes
an implicit meaning beyond the explicit or literal meaning of
an utterance, and which suggests that the utterer had a
reason for not using a more informative or stronger term on
the same scale. The choice of the weaker characterization
suggests that, as far as the speaker knows, none of the
stronger characterizations in the scale holds. This is
commonly seen in the use of 'some' to suggest the meaning
'not all', even though 'some' is logically consistent with 'all'.
If Bill says 'I have some of my money in cash', this suggests
to a hearer (though it does not logically imply it) that Bill
does not have all his money in cash.
Scalar implicatures typically arise where the speaker
qualifies or scales their statement with language
that conveys to the listener an inference or
implicature that indicates that the speaker had
reasons not to use a stronger, more informative,
For example :
Where a speaker uses the term "some" in the
statement, "Some students can afford a new car.",
the use of "some" gives rise to an inference or
implicature that "Not all students can afford a new
Particularized conversational implicature
Particularized conversational implicature is :
• A conversational implicature that can be inferred depend on
particular features of the context with special background
• A conversational implicature that is derivable only in a
A : What on earth has happened to the roast beef?
B : The dog is looking very happy.
In the above exchange, A will likely derive the implicature
"the dog ate the roast beef" from B’s statement. This is due
to A’s belief that B is observing the conversational maxim of
relation or relevance in the specific context of A’s question.
PROPERTIES OF CONVERSATIONAL
• Cancel ability
• Implicates can be changed afterwards.
• "Fritz has two bottles of wine. Even three, if you count the
• Linked to the semantic context, not the words, of an
• Cannot be detached from the utterance in its actual context
(does not apply to implicatures that are due to the maxim of
• "Can you tell me the time?" - "Well, the postman hasn't
• Can be calculated from the sentential meaning of an
utterance plus the conversational maxims plus
situational background knowledge.
• In this sense: Regular logical inferences.
• Defeasibility is a matter of revising the assumptions
about cooperatively or background assumptions.
• Implicatures do not rest on the conventional or truth-
conditional meaning of linguistic expressions alone.
• From "Harry hit Sally" does not follow truth-
conditionally that "Harry didn't kill Sally by hitting
her", but it does follow by conversational implicature.
Conventional implicature is an implicature that is
• Part of a lexical item’s or expression’s agreed
meaning, rather than derived from principles of
language use, and
• Not part of the conditions for the truth of the
item or expression.
A speaker using the word but between coordinate
clauses thinks that some contras or concession
relation is relevant between the clauses.