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Maxims of Conversation Deny A. Kwary, S.S., M.Hum
The Cooperative Principles: Maxims of Conversations (Grice, 1989) Name of Maxim Description of Maxim QuantitySay neither more nor less than the discourse requires RelevanceBe relevant MannerBe brief and orderly; avoid ambiguity and obscurity QualityDo not lie; do not make unsupported claims
Examples: 1. I’m a multimillionaire (Actually, I’m penniless.) Violated maxim: Quality Explanation: The speaker has failed to tell the truth. 2. A: When am I going to get back the money I lent you? B: Boy, it’s hot in here! Violated maxim: Relevance Explanation: B’s answer is not related to A’s question. 3. A: What should I do to get rid of this headache, Doctor? B: Take some medicine. Violated maxim: Quantity Explanation: B has not provided enough information.
Exercises 1.Don’t be silly. I love working 80 hours a week with no vacation. Quality 2. A: Excuse me–how much is this screwdriver? B: $9.95. The saw is $39.50, and the power drill there on the table is $ Relevance 3. A: What’s playing at the Rialto tonight? B: A film you haven’t seen. Quantity 4. Dr. Smith received his Ph.D in 1986, his B.A. in 1980, and his M.A. in Manner
Speakers sometimes deliberately violate the rules of ordinary conversation to achieve certain ends Example: A: Would you like to go out with Andrea? B: Is the Pope Catholic? Violated maxim: Relevance Motivation: B is being humorous. By replying with a question whose answer is obvious, he is implying that the answer to A’s question is equally obvious: Yes!
Exercises: 1. A: I’ll pay you back in full next week, I promise. B: Sure, and pigs will fly and fish will sing. Violated maxim: Relevance Motivation: B’s response implies sarcastically that he does not believe A. 2. A: What are the three most important things in real estate? B: Location, location, and location. Violated maxim: Quantity Motivation: To emphasize the overwhelming importance of location
3. A: So tell me, do you like what I did to my hair? B: Er…what’s on TV tonight? Violated maxim: Relevance Motivation: B does not like A’s hairstyle, so he changed the subject. 4. A: How can I develop a great body like yours? B: Choose your parents carefully. Violated maxim: Quality Motivation: Indirectly saying that it is impossible, because it’s all in the genes
Materials for Final Test 1.Grammatical vs. Ungrammatical 2.Syntactic categories 3.Tree diagram 4.Ambiguity 5.Semantic features 6.Lexical relations 7.Thematic roles 8.Sentential relations 9.Idioms 10.Maxims of conversations