[Ads-l] earlier evidence for 'implicature', adj. and n.

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Nov 23 18:55:03 UTC 2022

True; these would all seem to conform to the general sense Grice takes as a
starting point, viz. that which is meant ("within the general signification
of a remark") without being said.  Grice's aim was to narrow and regiment
the notion, provide diagnostics for it, distinguish its subcases
("conventional" implicature vs. non-conventional and in particular
"conversational" implicature), relate implicature to the conversational
principle and general concerns of rationality, and so on.  I don't know if
he was aware of the earlier sporadic attestations of the kind you provide;
as far as I know he thought he was coining the term (as a way of evoking
without reducing to "implication").


On Wed, Nov 23, 2022 at 12:09 AM James Eric Lawson <jel at nventure.com> wrote:

> I find isolated instances of 'implicature' adj. and n., with senses not
> in OEDO, earlier than Grice's adoption and refinement of the term.
> Nothing serves to distinguish the sense of the earliest uses of
> 'implicature' as adjective (not in OEDO) from the sense of the earlier
> 'implied', adj., attested from a1535 in OEDO: "Contained or stated by
> implication; involved in what is expressed; necessarily intended though
> not expressed...Often in legal phrases..."
> 1629  Sir John Doddridge _The lawyers light_ 102 (EEBO) And forasmuch as
> a man may be convinced of an offence as well by confession, as by
> verdict; and that as well, by implicature confession, as by expresse
> confession: Therefore every of the said former Cases may be concluded
> and comprehended under the amplenesse of this last remembred Ground.
> https://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/eebo/A20578.0001.001/1:6.25?c=ecco;c=eebo;c=eebo2;c=evans;g=tcp;rgn=div2;view=fulltext;xc=1;xg=1;q1=implicature
> The 1629 work is reprinted in an expanded 1631 treatise (EEBO2), _The
> English lawyer_. Note from the printers to the reader: "The later part
> of this Volume was heretofore obscurely printed by an imperfect Copie
> from a then unknowne Authour, under the Title of The Lawyers light".
> https://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/eebo2/A20576.0001.001/1:5.24?ALLSELECTED=1;c=ecco;c=eebo;c=eebo2;c=evans;g=tcp;rgn=div2;sort=occur;subview=detail;type=simple;view=fulltext;xc=1;xg=1;q1=implicature
> The noun first appears in a religious context (1604?), then legal
> (1853), then (perhaps) medical (1856), and finally in a quasi-religious
> political context (1924). These isolated examples are enough to suggest
> that at least the noun was used more broadly than the evidence readily
> available to me establishes.
> 1604?  Christopher Sutton _*Disce Vivere*: Learn to Live_ 255 (EEBO) Be
> pure, and at inward libertie, without the implicatures of the worlde, if
> thou wilt bare thy heart to Iesus, and see how swéete the Lord is.
> https://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/eebo/A13187.0001.001/1:5.15?ALLSELECTED=1;c=ecco;c=eebo;c=eebo2;c=evans;g=tcp;rgn=div2;sort=occur;subview=detail;type=simple;view=fulltext;xc=1;xg=1;q1=implicature*#hl1
> 1853  _The Placer Herald_ (Rocklin, California) 8 Oct 3/2
> (newspapers.com) With this the enquiry is frequently made, what becomes
> of the large amount of money that is collected thus at implicature
> charging our county officers with dereliction or violation of duty.
> https://www.newspapers.com/image/385677720/?terms=implicature&match=1
> 1856  _The London Lancet_ II. 4. Oct 343/1  (HathiTrust) The case is
> interesting from the unusual site of the tumour, and its great
> resemblance to a malignant growth, both as regards previous history and
> its general appearance, more especially the ulcerated points arising
> from the implicature of the integuments, although these, again, were
> somwhat nullified by its great mobility and evident limitation to the
> true skin.
> https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=chi.79168831&view=1up&seq=353&q1=implicature
> 1924  _Madison (Nebraska) Star-Mail_ 2 Oct 2/1 As the preacher would
> say, an adjective defining a more advanced degree of implicature might
> have been interjected before the w[o]rd defining the editors [sic]
> mental status.
> https://www.newspapers.com/image/731393810/?terms=implicature&match=1
> --
> James Eric Lawson
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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