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Auteur: Rebekah BAGLINI

Co-Auteur(s): Itamar Francez

The implications of managing

Abstract/Résumé: "Manage" is a two-way implicative verb (Karttunen 1971). As Karttunen observed, (1) entails (3) whereas (3) entails its negation. Furthermore, both (1) and (2) imply the truth of (4) and (5). (1) John managed to build a house. (2) John didn't manage to build a house. (3) John built a house. (4) John tried to build a house. (5) Building a house was dificult (for John). Based on such examples, managing has been claimed to conventionally implicate trying (Karttunen, 1971; Stephenson, 2010), as well as difficulty (Karttunen and Peters, 1979; Bhatt, 1998). However, this characterization is descriptively problematic. (6) shows that managing does not always imply trying, and (7) shows that the so-called difficulty implication is cancelable, ruling out conventional implicature. (6) a. I discovered that I had managed to lose my car keys. b. Fortunately, I didn't manage to lose my c. Those movies always manage to make me feel terrible about my love (7) I managed to make my way through customs. It was pretty easy actually. This paper proposes a more precise characterization of the implicational profile of "manage". Taking the semantic argument of manage as an eventuality description P, we propose that a sentence of the semantic form manage(P) conventionally implicates the occurrence of an eventuality, the “catalyst”, which is causally necessary, but not causally sufficient, for the instantiation of P, and asserts that the catalyst casually lead to the instantiation of P. *Implications of trying* are a special case that arises when P is volitional, as in (1a) and (7). In (6a), the catalyst is an internal mental state of the speaker; in (6c), it is properties of the relevant movies. *Difficulty* is a special case of a more general *non-triviality* implication arising from a combination of contextual information and conversational reasoning. Asserting that the catalyst e_c lead to the instantiation of P, instead of simply asserting that instantiation, conversationally implicates that the occurrence of the catalyst is non-trivial. In contexts where e_c is a subevent of a P-event involving force dynamics, non-triviality is interpreted as difficulty. Contexts that entail that the catalyst is sufficient for the instantiation of P, contrary to the conventional implicature of the speaker’s utterance, give rise to oddity: (8) [With an automatic door] ??John managed to open the door. Thus, a more precise and empirically adequate characterization of the implicational profile of manage cannot be stated in purely semantic or pragmatic terms, and requires teasing apart the role of truth conditional meaning, non-truth conditional meaning, contextual information and pragmatic reasoning.