Making implicit

Kent Bach recently bemoaned the lack of a verb form for ‘impliciture’. He had some substantive important points to make about the disagreement between him and Recanti as well, but I haven’t gotten around to formulating a post about that, so I thought I’d at least take on the other task.

I went a did a quick scan of Bach’s articles on the subject of implicitures, and it seems that when he absolutely can’t avoid having a verb he resorts to an adverb and uses the phrase ‘conveyed implicitly’.

I know that when teaching my periodic graduate class on the semantics/pragmatics distinction I use ‘make implicit’ as my verb form. I actually find it perfectly serviceable—while I suppose it does have a non-technical meaning, the contrast with make explicit and the fact that there is something (what?) odd about the phrase jars a little and reminds folks that there is a technical notion at work.

For me at least, the verb form for ‘impliciture’ that pops to mind is ‘implicate’ but that is unfortunately taken. Given the amount of effort I devote to disambiguating my pronunciation of ‘impliciture’ and ‘implicature’ we don’t want anymore overlap there!

Any good suggestions? I’m about to teach the graduate class in the fall, and thus to inflict ‘made implicit’ on a whole new class of philosophers and linguists!

3 thoughts on “Making implicit

  1. To implice. First it’s a direct borrowing of Latin _implicare_, since _imply_ came via Old French with its lenition of c to g to zero.

    Second, there is a precedent: Herbert Simon’s ‘satisfice’, as a technical term distinct from its doublet ‘satisfy’.

  2. I think the verb form is ‘implicate’. You just have to make sure the context doesn’t confuse people into thinking it has to do with accusing someone of a crime.

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