conventional implicatures

Sun Nov 30 08:56:16 UTC 1997

Referring to Marta Carretero's question on the semantic content of conventional
implicatures, I would not think that such items could be said to contain
lexical meaning, since the most frequently cited ones appear to function as
grammatical connectives and discourse particles. Although many may be shown to
have grammaticalised from former lexical items, such as BUT from a preposition
in Old English meaning 'outside of' (see Traugott 1995 in Stein & Wright (eds.),and certainly the original lexical semantics of HOWEVER is transparent, in
present-day uses the semantic content must surely be the result of the
continual and gradual reinforcement of conversational implicatures as a process
of their grammaticalisation. But the question remains whether all context-
independent items must neccessarily have a lexical function.

Debra Ziegeler

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