The logic of indirect speech.

  title={The logic of indirect speech.},
  author={Steven Pinker and Martin A. Nowak and James J Lee},
  journal={Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America},
  volume={105 3},
When people speak, they often insinuate their intent indirectly rather than stating it as a bald proposition. Examples include sexual come-ons, veiled threats, polite requests, and concealed bribes. We propose a three-part theory of indirect speech, based on the idea that human communication involves a mixture of cooperation and conflict. First, indirect requests allow for plausible deniability, in which a cooperative listener can accept the request, but an uncooperative one cannot react… CONTINUE READING
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