Nonfamiliarity and indefinite descriptions

Barbara Abbott
Michigan State University
Grice introduced generalized conversational implicatures with the following example: "Anyone who uses a sentence of the formX is meeting tz woman this evening would normally implicate that the person to be met was someone other than X’s wife, mother, sister, or perhaps even close platonic friend" (1975 : 37). Concerning this example, he suggested the following account: When someone, by using the form of expression an JQ implicates that the X does not belong to or is not otherwise closely connected with some identifiable person, the implicature is present because the speaker has failed to be specific in a way in which he might have been expected to be specific. (Grice 1975: 38.) Grice went on to sketch an explanation as to why such an implicature should arise, involving the different ways in which we behave towards things that are closely related to..
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