Chapter published in:Implicitness: From lexis to discourse
Edited by Piotr Cap and Marta Dynel
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 276] 2017
► pp. 281–304
Chapter 13Implicature and the inferential substrate
What is said is always silhouetted by the penumbra of the unsaid (Welch 2005)Implicatures are generally conceptualised as additional thoughts, beliefs, intentions and desires that are intended by the speaker to be recognised by the hearer as intended by the speaker. However, implicatures are not simply cognitive constructs, but in being accomplished by persons in interaction, are arguably social actions in their own right. In this chapter, it is proposed that a proper account of implicature needs to be developed with respect to the broader inferential substrate from which implicatures arise. It is suggested that while the inferables that make up this inferential substrate generally remain embedded, that is, where talk progresses without participants orienting to the action that is accomplished through the inferable as an object of interactional business, they may, on occasion, be exposed by those participants as the focus of interactional business in that sequence. It is then proposed that a range of practices license participants to expose an inferable (or set of inferables), including instances of “prompting”, where a speaker positions another participant to make a pre-emptive offer through reporting (possible) troubles, difficulties or needs. It is concluded that given through implicating participants can implicitly orient to both moral and relational concerns, our understanding of implicatures should not be divorced from the inferential substrate of interaction in which they are invariably locally situated.
- 1.Implicature and inference
- 2.The inferential substrate of interaction
- 3.Embedded and exposed inferables in initial interactions
- 4.Implicature as social action
Published online: 30 June 2017
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