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  1. 1. Congratulations!!!! to all of you who tookpart in Romeo & Juliet …I am so proud of you and hope this will the mostmemorable event for you during your studies at USM.
  2. 2. Grice’s Theory of ConversationalImplicature
  3. 3. Speech Act• Locutionary act, is the basic act of utterance, orproducing a meaningful linguistic expressions.• Illocutionary act is formed via communicativeforce of an utterance. We form an utterance withsome kind of function in mind (illocutionaryforce).• Perlocutionary act reveals the effect the speakerwants to exercise over the hearer(perlocutionary effect).
  4. 4. Direct and indirect speech act• Direct speech act – the illocution is most directlyindicated by by a literal reading of the grammatical formand vocablary of the sentence uttered (primary)• Indirect speech act – any further illocution the utterancemay have (secondary)• The conventionally expected function is known as directspeech act and the extra actual function is termed theindirect speech act.• The direct illocution of ‘Can you pass the salt?’ is anenquiry about the hearer’s ability to pass the salt. Theindirect illocution is a request that the hearer pass thesalt.
  5. 5. Examples:Utterance Direct act Indirect actCould you closethe window?question requestI would like you toclose the window.statement requestI must have askedyou a hundredtimes to keep thatwindow closed!statement complaint /request
  6. 6. Below are some examples of indirect speech acts. Foreach one try to identify both the direct and indirect act.• [travel agent to customer]• Why not think about Spain for this summer?direct=question, indirect=request• [customer to barman]• I’ll have the usual.direct=statement, indirect= request• [mother to child coming in from school]• I bet you’re hungry.direct=statement, indirect= statement
  7. 7. Presuppositions and entailments• Two aspects of what is communicated butnot said.• A presupposition is something the speakerassumes to be the case prior to make anutterance.• Ex. If someone tells you:‘Your brother is waiting outside for you’.• There is an obvious supposition that youhave a brother.
  8. 8. • Entailment is not a pragmatic concept.• It is defined as what logically follows from what isasserted in the utterance.• Speakers have presuppositions while sentences haveentailments.• Ex. Susan’s sister bought two houses.• This sentence presupposes that susan exists and thatshe has a sister. This sentence has the entailments thatsusan’s sister bought something; a house and othersimilar logical consequences, now she has two houses.• The entailments are communicated without being saidand are not dependent on the speaker’s intention.
  9. 9. Grice’s Theory of Implicature• What is said… and what is meant• Not always the same• In fact, what is said is rarely all that ismeant• Consider the following dialogue.• Alan: Are you going to Pauls party?Barb: I have to work.
  10. 10. • If this was a typical exchange, Barb meantthat she is not going to Pauls party.• But the sentence she uttered does notmean that she is not going to Pauls party.• Hence Barb did not say that she is notgoing, she implied it.
  11. 11. • Grice introduced the technical terms implicateand implicature for the case in which what thespeaker meant, implied, or suggested is distinctfrom what the speaker said.• Thus Barb “implicated” that she is not going; thatshe is not going was her “implicature.”• Implicating is what Searle (1975) called anindirect speech act.• Barb performed one speech act (meaning thatshe is not going) by performing another(meaning that she has to work)
  12. 12. Cooperative principle and its maxims• A principle proposed by the philosopher PaulGrice whereby those involved in communicationassume that both parties will normally seek tocooperate with each other to establish agreedmeaning.• It is composed of four conversational maxims:quality, quantity, relation and manner.• The CP together with the 4 maxims are used asbases for explaining implicature.
  13. 13. Grice’s Insights• Communication is a co-operative activity: when twopeople communicate, it’s in their interests to make thecommunication go as smoothly as possible in order toachieve their aims.• Speakers behave in certain predictable ways.• When we, as hearers, try to work out what someonemeans, we do it by assuming they’re being co-operative.• Conversation works only with the co-operation of itsparticipants.• Co-operation is built around a series of ‘Griceanmaxims’: quality, quantity, relation and manner.
  14. 14. Slide 14Maxim of QualityWhen engaged in conversation, the Maximof Quality requires that you1. Do not say what you believe to be false.2. Do not say that for which you lackadequate evidence.H.P. Grice (1975)H.P. Grice
  15. 15. ExampleSlide 15Jim, do you knowwhere the Big BenClock Tower is ?It’s inLondon.One finds this normal.Why?Because theMaxim is observedJim does not contribute what he believesto be false and to be unsubstantiated.–e.g. “It’s in Hong Kong.”
  16. 16. Slide 16Maxim of QuantityWhen engaged in conversation, the Maximof Quantity requires you to1.Make your contribution as informative as isrequired (for the purpose of the exchanges).2.Do not make your contribution moreinformative than is required.H.P. Grice (1975)H.P. Grice
  17. 17. Slide 17Example• Given the purpose of the conversation, the mancontributes only as much information as is required.– not excessive like “it’s 9:30 at night, Greenwich Mean Time, 20May 2009, …”– Not inadequate like, “it’s night time”.Do you have thetime?Yes, it’s 9:30.One finds thisnormal. Why?Because theMaxim is observed
  18. 18. Slide 18Maxim of RelationWhen engaged in conversation, the Maximof Relation requires you toBe relevantH.P. Grice (1975)H.P. Grice
  19. 19. Example• The woman contributes what is relevant for the purposeof the conversation.– not irrelevant like “I like steak very much” or“What nice weather!”Slide 19Medium rare,please.How do you likeyour steakcooked?Because theMaxim is observedOne finds thisnormal. Why?
  20. 20. Slide 20Maxim of MannerWhen engaged in conversation, the Maxim ofManner requires you to be perspicuous(transparently clear; easily understandable).Includes (but not restricted to)1.Avoid obscurity of expression2.Avoid ambiguity.3.Be brief (avoid unnecessary prolixity).4.Be orderly.H.P. Grice (1975)H.P. Grice
  21. 21. ExampleLet’s begin by considering two propositions:P1: Laura ran to the pier.P2: Laura jumped.Slide 21
  22. 22. ExampleSlide 22One finds thisconversationnormal. Why?Because theMaxim is observedLaura jumped andran to the pier.What did Laura dowhen she heardthat Lauri’s boathad arrived?
  23. 23. How implicatures arise?• In Grice’s system, there are twomechanisms:• Standard implicature - requires theassumption that the speaker is doing theirbest to follow the co-operative principle,even though the result may not be thebest, from the point of view of the hearer
  24. 24. • Flouting the maxims - a deliberate floutingof the maxims, which is intended to beperceived as deliberate by the hearer, butat the same time as none the lessintending a sincere communication withoutabandonment of the co-operative principle
  25. 25. Standard implicatures• A: (stranded motorist) I’ve run out of petrol.• B: (passer-by) There’s a garage just around thecorner.• On the assumption that the speaker is obeyingthe relation maxim, B’s reply implicates that thegarage both sells petrol and is open, to the bestof the speaker’s knowledge.
  26. 26. • A: Where’s the corkscrew?• B: It’s either in the top drawer in the kitchen orit’s fallen behind the piano.• The information given is not really enough tosatisfy the questioner but if we suppose that B isdoing his best to follow the co-operativeprinciple, then we must conclude that somethingis preventing him from giving more. A likelypossibility is that he doesn’t actually know anymore than he says.
  27. 27. Flouting the maxims• The other way in which implicatures arise is throughdeliberate flouting of the maxims in circumstances inwhich:• It is obvious to the hearer that the maxims are beingflouted• It is obvious to the hearer that the speaker intends thehearer to be aware that the maxims are being flouted• There are no signs that the speaker is opting out of theco-operative principle• The hearer is thus given a signal that the utterances arenot to be taken at face value, and that some sort of extraprocessing is called for.
  28. 28. Flouting the maxims• This is the most important ‘use’ of Grice’s maxims.• Unlike ‘violating’, ‘flouting’ a maxim allows a speakerto signal that although they seem to be ‘violating’ amaxim, they are still co-operating.• What Grice called ‘implicature’ occurs when a speakerchooses to flout a maxim.• The listener, assuming that the speaker still intendsbeing cooperative, looks for meaning other than thatwhich is said.• The intended meaning will be arrived at through thespeaker working out the pragmatic force of theutterance rather than its semantic sense.
  29. 29. The maxim of quality• The mushroom omelette wants his coffee with.• I married a rat.• It’ll cost the earth, but what the hell.• In their most likely contexts of use, none of theabove sentences is likely to be true, but equallynone of them is likely to mislead a hearer. Ineach case some additional interpretive processwill be brought into play.
  30. 30. • The understood message will be the theperson who ordered a mushroom omelettewants his coffee served with the omelette,rather than afterwards.• The interpretive process will be ametaphoric one.• This implicates a relaxed, informalrelationship with interlocutors.
  31. 31. Maxim of quantity• It must be somewhere. (implicates adetermined search will be likely to result insuccess)• Boys will be boys. (implicates certainstereotypic properties of boys as beinginnate and unavoidable)
  32. 32. Maxim of relation• A: I say, did you hear about Mary….• B: Yes, well, it rained nearly the wholetime we were there.• (Irrelevant comment. Assume that A and Bare having a conversation about acolleague, Mary. Mary approaches them,seen by B but not by A. The implicature is:Watch out! Here comes Mary!)
  33. 33. Maxim of manner• A: I’ll look after Samantha for you, don’t worry.We’ll have a lovely time. Won’t we, Sam?• B: Great, but if you don’t mind, don’t offer herany post-prandial concoctions involvingsupercooled oxide of hydrogen. It usually givesrise to convulsive nausea.• (Implicates that B does not want Samantha toknow what she was saying)
  34. 34. GOOD LUCK IN YOUR FINAL EXAMS.Thank you.