Dimensions of Implication A Review of the Saying-Meaning-Implying Trichotomy

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Saman M. Othman
Salah M. Salih


Grice’s distinction between what is said and what is implicated in the theory of Conversational Implicature is a sketchy proposal, because what is said is quite complex and is the main source of controversy among the philosophers of language and linguists. This article aims at reviewing the modern theories of meaning. Semanticists, linguists and language philosophers have posited meaning in various dichotomies: sentence meaning / utterance meaning; sentence meaning/ speaker meaning; saying / implying, implicature/ explicature; implicature/ entailment; implicature/presupposition; implicature/ enrichment; implicature/ inference. These meaning dichotomies have failed to address the question of whether or not implication should be recognized as a two-way process or a three-way process. In Grice’s theory, ‘what is said’ can be envisaged in two more distinctions: ‘what is said versus what is implicated’, and ‘what is said versus what is meant.’ Moreover, after the establishment of the implicature notion, some linguists and language philosophers argued for additional terms to account for other aspects of pragmatic inferences that implicature theory has failed to recover. In conclusion, it is believed that the traditional account of meaning dichotomy, which is between what is said and what is implicated, is better substituted with trichotomy: what is said, what is meant, and what is implicated.


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Othman, S. M. and Salih, S. M. (2021) “Dimensions of Implication: A Review of the Saying-Meaning-Implying Trichotomy”, Koya University Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 4(1). Available at: http://jhss.koyauniversity.org/index.php/jhss/article/view/523 (Accessed: 28October2021).
Author Biographies

Saman M. Othman, Department of English Language, College of Education, University of Raparin, Kurdistan Region ,Iraq

Mr. Othman, Saman Mohammad is an assistant lecturer, joined the Department of English language and education, University of Raparin in 2013. He has M.A. In English language and linguistics, Sheffield Hallam University, UK in 2012. He was the chair of the English department for four Years from 2015 to 2019.  He is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Suleimani.

Salah M. Salih, Department of English Language, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Koya University, Kurdistan Region, Iraq

Salah M. Salih is an assistant professor of Linguistics & English Language at the Department of English Language & Translation at Koya University. He gained his BA in English Language & Literature from Al-Anbar University in 1995; MA and Ph.D. in Linguistics and English Language from Baghdad University in 2000 and 2003 respectively. He started his academic teaching in 1995 when he worked as a Lab Assistant at Al-Anbar University. In 1996, he joined the Department of English, College of Arts, Baghdad University to pursue his MA and Ph.D. study and teach there as well, he worked as a lecturer in the Department of English Language in both the College of Arts and the College of Languages, Baghdad University during the academic years 1997-2003. In 2003-2005, he worked as an Asst. Prof. and the Head of the Department of English Language at the College of Education, Seyoun, Hadhramout University for Science and Technology, Republic of Yemen. 


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