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Cooperative Principle: The Flouting of Maxims


flouting maximsThe infringement of maxims which involves exploitation, that is, a procedure by which a maxim is flouted for the purpose of getting a conversational implicature, is usually carried out by means of indirect, contradictory utterances, or figure of speech such as irony, metaphor, overstatement, understatement, tautology, and hyperbole. Grundy (2000) states that whenever a maxim is flouted there must be an implicature to save the utterance from simply appearing to be a faulty contribution to a conversation.  Consider these four sentences examples taken from the previous post, Grice's Cooperative Principle:

(1)  A: What time is it?
      B: It's two a'clock, in fact it's four pass two, and now it's Sunday.

Maxim of quantity and its implicature occur when the speaker or the writer conveys messages that are not as informative as they are required or the information is too much and unnecessary. B flouts the maxim of quantity, since he gives too much information to A, while too much information can distract the listener. However, it is not very difficult to recover the implicature that B wants to show to A that he is a kind of "on time" person.

(2) A: What is the Capital City of Indonesia?
     B: I believe it's Bogor, or maybe Jakarta, Indonesia has wide territory. 

Maxim of quality and its implicature occur when your contribution one that is untrue or lack adequate evidence. B flouts the maxim of quality since he gives insincere answer for A's question. The implicature of this flouting maxim would be that B doesn't know exactly about Capital City of Indonesia.

(3) Mom: Have you done your homework?
     Son: My bicycle is broken mom. 

Maxim of relevance and its implicature arise when the speaker deviates from the particular topic being asked and discussed. The answer of the son is not answering the mother’s question. The son tries to direct his mother’s concern away from the question which he does not like. 

(4) It’s the taste

Maxims of manner and its implicature occur when the utterances are not brief, ambiguous, and obscure. Advertisements often flout the maxim of manner. The statement flouts maxim of manner because it is obscure. The utterances triggers an inference process in which the addressee looks for the likeliest that is relevant in the context that obtain – that the taste is good for people who favor Coca cola and bad for those who dislike it. 

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See also:
Grice's cooperative principle 
Cooperative Principle: Implicature
Cooperative Principle: Flouting Maxims
The Hedging of Maxims 
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