Semantics Practice

Below is a set of sentence pairs. Determine which sentence relation (presupposition, entailment, contradiction, or paraphrasing) is shown by each. (This one is based off of the show “Supernatural”)

  1. A: Sam and Dean are not related in any way.
    B: Sam and Dean are brothers.
  2. A: The Winchester brothers hunt monsters.
    B: The Winchester brothers  hunt.
  3. A: Sam is Dean’s little brother.
    B: Dean has a brother.
  4. A: Sam knows that Dean loves his brother.
    B: Dean loves his brother.
  5. A: The Winchesters investigate supernatural occurrences.
    B: Supernatural occurrences are investigated by the Winchesters.

Gricean Maxims

Tell what Gricean maxim(s) the people in the following scenarios are violating.

There once was a little boy. He was a shepherd. He liked to feel important and liked to see people go running around. So he would randomly shout “Wolf! Wolf!” just to see the villagers come running. Things did not go well for him in the end.

In Star Trek, Data will often annoy his crew members for not paying attention to Gricean Maxims. In one episode, Data lists out an exhaustive list of information when a pressing matter is occurring. In his frustration, Captain Picard tells Data to not babble. Then Captain Picard asks for information on whether Data could tell him something about its motivation for attacking the ship aggressively. Data replies simply “Yes.” and stops at that.

A woman walks into her home and asks her husband where the kids are. The husband shrugs and says “Somewhere.” She then asks for further clarification and he says “Oh, they asked me if they could go see someone so they left to go somewhere and do something.”

In class, a professor asks if anyone can tell her why the sky is blue. A student raises her hand and the professor calls on her. She replies “Baby dolphins die every day. Your mother loves them.”