'Only': Meaning and Implicatures - The Very Incomplete Short Version


  • Robert van Rooij
  • Katrin Schulz




The meaning of ‘only’ has always been an exciting and challanging issue. Many surprising observations have been made and many sophisticated accounts proposed. In this paper we will not focus on new extraordinatry data and their treatment. Instead, we will show that there is a way to approach the meaning of ‘only’ that is faithful to classical insights and observations but still can deal with the well-known challenges. When ‘only’ is used in examples as (1),(1) John only introduced [Mary]F to Sue.the sentence is intuitively interpreted as stating both A that except for Mary, John introduced nobody to Sue, and B that, in fact, he introduced Mary to Sue. In this paper we will argue that contribution A is due to the semantic meaning of (1), while contribution B comes about as a pragmatic conversational implicature.




How to Cite

van Rooij, R., & Schulz, K. (2019). ’Only’: Meaning and Implicatures - The Very Incomplete Short Version. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 9, 314–324. https://doi.org/10.18148/sub/2005.v9i0.771