March 4, 2013
Grice’s Conversational Maxims
Cooperative principle - Conversation is a cooperative activity to understand each other
• Quality – be truthful and have evidence for what you say
• Quantity – to be succinct yet complete, not too little and not too much (just right)
• Relation – should be relevant to what’s going on at the moment/being said (or before)
• Manner – how we organize what we say
4 classes of Maxim violation
• Quietly violating – misleading people (somewhat lying to people
• Opting out – when we cannot be cooperative, so we opt out
• Clashing – fulfilling one leads to violation of others
• Flouting – strategic or artful cooperation (sarcasm)
License – violated a maxim, but showing or saying that there was no intention of it.
Bringing impressions into line – telling waitress that he actually contained the food in a box
Specifying a limitation of knowledge (sarcasm) – violating quality maxim, but letting others
know we are doing it
Quantity – Aphrase that indicates violation of quantity.
EX. long story short (cutting of details)
I thought you meant this instead of that (glasses at a bar vs. reading glasses for a text)
EX. You know what that reminds me of?
EX. Speaking of which…
Manner – not trying to be uncooperative, but need time to clear thoughts
Semantics – the meanings attached to the words of the sentences
Syntax – structure of the language, how we organize words
Grammar – a bunch of rules; rewrite rules Grammatical?
Everything is semantic and grammatical
Most fall in here – 99% of utterance
Standard English grammatical Colorless green ideas Random nonsense
* Asterisk means element may be repeated *
Conversation can consist of an encounter interaction a departure
• Order is important!!
Encounter can consist of as greeting* inquiry
• Greeting is hello
• Asterisk means can be repeated
• Inquiry is asking about their routine
• Brackets means that element is optional
An encounter must first have a greeting, but may then have an inquiry