Conversational Implicatures and Communication Theory

  • Robert van Rooy
Part of the Text, Speech and Language Technology book series (TLTB, volume 22)


According to standard pragmatics, we should account for conversational implicatures in terms of (1975) maxims of conversation. Neo-Griceans like (1981) and (1984) seek to reduce those maxims to the so-called Q and I-principles. In this paper I want to argue that (i) there are major problems for reducing Gricean pragmatics to these two principles, and (ii) that, in fact, we’d better account for implicatures in terms of the principles of (a) optimal relevance and (b) optimal coding. To formulate both, I will make use of (1948) mathematical theory of communication.


Communication Theory Optimal Code Conversational Implicature Scalar Implicature Actual Interpretation 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert van Rooy
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Logic, Language and ComputationUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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