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conventional implicature


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  • In a statement, this is "a commitment to an extra message that (metaphorically speaking) comes through on a second channel, without adding anything to the factual content of what is said." –Geoffrey K. Pullum, "A wee conventional implicature", Language Log,

    Pullum gives the examples of "damn" in such statements as "Somebody stole my damn guitar" and "wee" in Scottish usage: "I'll just be going off for a wee cup o' tea":

    "It seems to me that wee has a similar syntactic privilege of occurrence — you can just pick a salient noun at random and stick wee on that — but the semantic contribution is just an optimistic and comforting attitudinal overtone: rather than the vague impression that the speaker is pissed at the situation, which is what damn conveys, wee supplies a vague impression that the speaker is being helpful and optimistic and that things are going to be just fine."

    December 25, 2011