Pragmatik pp 72-91 | Cite as

Explicature, Impliciture, and Implicature

  • Graham H. Bird
Part of the Linguistische Berichte book series (LINGB)


Pragmatics relies for its very existence, and its distinction from other branches of linguistic theory, on an intuitive contrast between the strict semantic content of some utterance and what is communicated or understood beyond that. In recent work of Robyn Carston (1988), François Récanati (1991), and Kent Bach (1994a: 1994b) that intuitive contrast has been examined more closely with the aim of improving on Grice’s original distinction between what is said and what is implicated in some utterance. These commentators disagree at various points, but they all accept that Grice’s contrast, at least if it is regarded as exhaustive, is over-simple; and all seek to remedy that weakness with a more subtle classification. Carston, for example, deploys initially a Principle of Functional Independence (PFI) to classify as ‘explicatures’ items, such as temporal or causal aspects of conjunction, which Grice treated as implicatures. Both Récanati and Bach accept that specific conclusion but question the grounds on which she based it. Kent Bach, however, disputes other ‘inflationary’ tendencies which lead Récanati to include in ‘explicature’ what Récanati calls ‘strengthening’ and ‘saturation’, and Kent Bach calls ‘sentence non-literality’ and ‘semantic under-determination’. The two types of case are recognised by both Récanati and Bach, but classified differently. For Bach they are neither explicatures, part of what was said, nor Gricean implicatures, and so deserve a special classification as ‘implicitures’.


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Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Graham H. Bird
    • 1
  1. 1.ManchesterUK

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