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Non Observance Of Grices Maxims English Language

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Grice pointed out that not all people observe the maxims. People tend to be lying in different situations in real
life. The speakers laying leads him to break maxims. There are many reasons lead the speaker to be lying, such
as save face, avoid embarrassment, avoid inappropriate situations, and sometimes to avoid hurting the hearer.
When the speaker fails to observe the maxims, this means that there is a distinction between what the speaker
says and what he meant, as figure1.2 shows the relationship between speaker and hearer and kinds of breaking
the maxims that used by interlocutors. The implicature is the only way by which the speaker and hearer can
communicate. The case of breaking the maxims does not mean that the speaker is not aware of fulfilling the
maxims, he still in action to adhere the maxims in a deeper way and that is what Grice called it the
conversational implicature.








Opting out



Kinds of non-observance

Figure 1.2 Non-Observance of Grices Maxims

Grice distinguished five types of non-observance by which the speaker fails to observe a maxim; they are
flouting, violating, Infringing, opting out, and suspending. I will expose to every kind in detail and how the speaker
can break the maxims supporting with examples. Flouting of the maxims

The speaker blatantly fails to observe a maxim in which he has no intention of deceiving or misleading. The
speaker wishes to raise the hearers attention to the implicit meaning which is different from, or in addition to the
expressed meaning. According to Grice this additional meaning is called Conversational Implicature and the way
by which such implicature is generated is called Flouting a Maxim (Grice, 1975:71).

If the addressor and the addressee have shared the same background knowledge, the knowledge of
interpretation is not the roles of linguistic forms but the knowledge of the world, then the implicature will
accomplish (Couthared, 1987:8).The speaker flouts the maxims to serve different purposes, to create humorous
and irony and to avoid an appropriate or uncomfortable situations

1/8 Flouting the maxim of quantity
When the speaker blatantly gives more or less information that the situation requires. The speaker usually flouts
this maxim because s/he uses insufficient words in conversation. In other words, the speaker gives incomplete
words when s/he is speaking (Leech, 1983:140).

For example: Women are women

This utterance from the level of what is said is non informative, but it is informative at the level of what is
implicated, and the hearers intention to such utterance depends on the ability to explain the speakers selection
of this particular speech. The functions of flouting the quantity maxim are: irony, metaphor, meiosis, hyperbole,
etc. (Grice, 1975:52- 53). Flouting the maxim of quality

In order not to get any punishments from the addressee, addressor intends to say some things untrue or lies and
denies some things. The speaker misrepresents his information in order to make the hearer understand the
intended meaning of an utterance (Levinson, 1983:110).

Example: Someone says to Xs wife, She is deceiving him this evening.

From the context of the sentence or from the tone or voice, it seems to be that the speaker has no adequate
reason for supposing this to be the case, or possibly that she is the sort of person who would not stop short of
such conduct (Grice, 1975:53-54). Flouting the maxim of relation

The participant flouts this maxim in such a way makes the conversation unmatched. The participants topics are
spoken in different ways. In this case the participant will change the topic by means of irrelevance of the topic of
the partner of the conversation (Levinson, 1983:111).

Example: A: Mrs. X is an old bag

B: The weather has been quite delightful this summer, hasnt it?

B has blatantly refused to make what he said relevant to As preceding remarks. He implicated that As remark
should not to be discussed; more specifically perhaps, A has committed a social gate (Grice, 1975:54). the maxim of manner

When the speaker says ambiguous language or uses another language which makes the utterance
incomprehensible by addressee, this is the case of flouting the maxim of manner. Moreover, if the addressor
uses slang or his voice is not loud enough, s/he will flouts this maxim (Levinson, 1983:104).

An example was given by Thomas (1995:71):

Interviewer: Did the United States Government play any part in Duvaliers Departure? Did they, for example,
actively encourage him to leave?

Official: I would not try to steer you away from that conclusion.

In the above example the official response is extremely long and convoluted and it is obviously no accident nor
through any inability to speak clearly. Therefore, he has failed to observe the maxim of manner; the official has
replied "Yes." Violating of the maxims

According to Grice (1975) the speaker violates a maxim when s/he will be liable to mislead the hearer to have
such implicature. The speaker deliberately tries to make the hearer misubderstanding the truth meaning of
speaking. He tries to mislead the hearer to look for the surface words of the speaker saying. This makes the
hearer infers an implicature . In the real life situations, many people tend to tell untruth when they communicate,
they even do multiple violations for laying purposes.

People in real life tend to tell lies for different reasons, hide the truth, save face, feel jealous, satisfying the
hearer, cheer the hearer, building ones belief, avoid hurting the hearer, and convincing the hearer. They believe
that a lying is the natural tool to survive and to avoid them from anything that may put them in an inappropriate
condition (Tupan & Natalia, 2008:64-66).

The talk of the non-observance of the four maxims is the same, whether these maxims located in flouting,
violating, and other non-observance ways, but the difference is in the kind of non-observance, therefore, in the
following, the examples will be adequate to illustrate how speaker violates a maxim. Violating the maxim of quantity

The following example is a conversation between two friends John and Mike:

John: Where have you been? I searched everywhere for you during the past three months!

Mike: I wasnt around. So, whats the big deal?

John poses a question, which he needs to be answered by Mike. What Mike says in return does not lack the
truth, however is still insufficient. This can be due to the fact that Mike prefers to refrain from providing John with
the answer. Johns sentence implies that Mike has not been around otherwise, he did not have to search
everywhere. John does not say as much as it is necessary to make his contribution cooperative. Therefore, John
violated quantity maxim (Khosravizadeh & Sadehvandi, 2011:123). Violating the maxim of quality

The following example is a conversation between a mother and her son:

Mother: Did you study all day long?

The son who has been playing all day long: Ive been studying till now!

In this conversation, the boy is not truthful and he violated the maxim of quality. He lied to avoid unpleasant
consequences such as, punishment or to be forced to study for the rest of the day (Ibid: 122-123). Violating the maxim of relation

The following is an example of a conversation between a teacher and one of his students;

Teacher: Why didnt you do your homework?

Student: May I go and get some water? Im so thirsty.

In this example, the students answer is by no means irrelevant to the teachers question. One reason for this
answer can be the fact that the student is trying to evade the interrogation posed by the teacher (Ibid: 123). Violating the maxim of manner

The following is an example of a conversation between two friends Sara and Anna:

Sara: Did you enjoy the party last night?

Anna: There was plenty of oriental food on the table, lots of flowers all over the place, people hanging around
chatting with each other

Sara asked a very simple question, however what she receives from Anna is a protracted description of what
was going on in the party. Two interpretations can be made from Annas description: 1.Anna had such a good
time and2. She does not know how to complain about it. Anna is ambiguous; therefore, she violated the maxim of
manner (Ibid: 123). Infringing of the maxims

When the speaker has an imperfect knowledge or performance of language, he infringes the maxims like a
young child or a learner of foreign language who has imperfect command of the language. Furthermore;
nervousness, darkness, excitement may make impairment of the speakers performance, in these cases s/he
does the infringement (Thomas, 1995:74). Sometimes a speaker infringes the maxims because he is incapable
to speak clearly, he does not know the culture or he has not enough knowledge of the language.

For example: Someone learning English as a second language speaks to a native speaker.

English speaker: Would you like ham or salad on your sandwich?

Non-English speaker: "Yes."

The implicature has not been generated by interlocutor; s/he has not understood the utterance. The answer
might be interpreted as non-operative. This is a case of different social knowledge which implied a different
implicature (Dornerus, 2006:7).

The difference between violating and infringing runs in the fact of the speakers intention; in violating the speaker
is liable to mislead the hearer, whereas in infringing the speaker unintentionally fails to observe a maxim.
Violating is a kind of misleading the hearer, the speaker here intends to mislead in order to save face or to
achieve some purpose in the favor of speaker. Infringement occurs when a speaker fails to observe the maxim
because he has no perfect knowledge to communicate. Opting out of the maxims

When the speaker opts out from the maxim, s/he seems unwilling to cooperate in the way the maxims required
(Grice, 1975:71). Moreover, Thomas (1995:74) said that the "example of opting out occurs frequently in public
life, when the speaker cannot, perhaps for legal or ethical reason, reply in the way normally expected. The
speaker usually wishes to avoid generating a false implicature or appearing uncooperative". Thomas also stated
that giving the requested information might hurt a third party or put them in danger.

For example: If a doctor or a nurse, who has complete confidentiality regarding his/her patients, is asked by the
police or the press to reveal something about the patient that s/he is treating, he /she will reply:

A: I am sorry but cant tell you anything.

The doctor or nurse opted out a maxim when s/he prevented from answering. The doctor seems to be unwilling
to cooperate, due to the procedures of the hospital or for the sake of secret information or something else
(Dornerus, 2006:7). Suspending of the maxims

If there is no expectation on the part of any participant that the maxims will be fulfilled (hence the non-fulfillment
does not generate any implicatures), the speaker does not observe the maxims. It may be culturally-specific to a
particular event. The suspending of the maxim of quality can be found in funeral orations and obituaries, when
the description of the deceased needs to be praiseworthy and exclude any potentially unfavorable aspects of
their life or personality. Poetry suspends the manner maxim since it does not aim for conciseness, clarity and

lack of ambiguity. In the case of telegrams, telexes and some international phone calls, the maxim of quantity
suspended because such means are functional owing to their very brevity .It is difficult to find any persuasive
examples in which the maxim of relation is suspended (Thomas, 1995:76-78).

1. 4 Fictional conversation
Language is a tool by which the human beings can communicate or convey messages to each other aiming to
achieve a range of purposes such as, informing, ordering, reassuring, warning, persuading etc. The rhetoric of
discourse is a way in which the message used to achieve such purposes. The rhetoric discourse in a novel has
different implications. The writer here has the goal of the reader/listener about a particular fictional world, and
also to realize the relation with his readers in which the contents of the fiction are interpreted in an appropriate
manner. But the problem arises here is that the discourse in fiction is not that of spoken one or simple
conversation, the final is clear where the addresser and addresser are known.

In writing discourse the sentences should be connected with each other matching the general topic. So each
sentence intends to be relevant to the surrounding parts of the text and should tell the truth in order to
accomplish clear meaning mutually between the speaker/writer and listener/reader (Green, 1989:103).

According to Leech (1983) rhetoric in its two levels interpersonal and textual has a role in speech situations.
These two levels according to him are used to produce a certain effect in the mind through the language. He
emphasizes on the importance of these two levels in any interactions and tries to make classification between

In literature works especially novels as a kind of discourse, there is one addresser but a large number of
addressees. The author of a novel is in the dark towards his readers, he can share with his readers the common
experiences and knowledge, such as historical events, literary works, and interpretation the sentences. Due to
an assuming knowledge that any reader is not necessarily have, it might conclude that the addressee in literary
communication is not the reader but what Wayne Booth has claimed as IMPLIED READER, in which the
hypothetical percentage sharing between author and implied reader is not background knowledge but a set of
presuppositions, sympathies and standards of what is good or bad, right or wrong. To become the appropriate
reader, he should make all kinds of allowances, linguistic, social, moral, whom the author is addressing, not just
make himself aware of those particular facts. Booth pointed out that there is what he called IMPLIED AUTHOR
between the author and text just as there is an implied reader between the reader and the work. Figure 1.3
clarifies these two levels of discourse, the author means implied author whereas reader means implied reader.
(Leech & Short, 1981:207)

In the discourse situations of the novel, both the authors and readers are not the only figures implicated. There is
a distinction between the author and narrator, might the narrator will be talking to someone discrete from the
reader. More clearly, there is I-narration novel such as David Copperfield narrated by an I-narrator, this character
apparently talk to an interlocutor, because there is no direct listener to the David. We conclude that he is talking
to us. The following figure also indicates the relation between addresser and addressee as it appeared in the
personality of the David (addresser 3) and the interlocutor (the reader/listener). At the level of discourse structure
the participant David collapsed into the equivalent participant in the instantly (Ibid: 211).

It can be noticed that there are a series of narrators each one associated with different discourse structure. As a
discourse, novels can be seen having highly individual architectures particularly that a narrator can address
different interlocutors at different points in the novel (Ibid: 212).

For a novelist, it is more usual to utilize an impersonal style of narration. By other means employing in the third
person. In the Bleak House novel, Dickens, when recounted the death of Mr. Tulkinghorn, pretended that he
does not know that the occurring events laying himself in the case of passer-by who will know step by step what
has happened. Who fired a gun? Whats that? Where was it? The declarative structure of the narrative sentence
is replaced by a series of questions, seemingly, Dickens be unaware not only of who fired the shot, but what kind
of weapon that used to shot(Ibid:2014).


Addresser 2

(Implied Author)


Addressee 2

(Implied Reader)

Addresser 1


Addressee 1


Addresser 3


Addressee 3



Addresser 4


Addressee 4



Figure 1.3 Conversation in Fiction adopted from Geoffrey Leech & Short (1981:216)

There is another important level of discourse found in the novel which is a conversation that the characters in the
novel sharing. Figure 1.3 shows the final discourse relation in the novel. In this figure, a novel can contain an
embedded hierarchy of discourse; this is a necessary distinction between characters, narrators, implied author
and real author. Generally, the use of third person narration separates the level of character discourse from that
of narrator discourse. In Bleak House, the character Esther Summerson narration was told from the eyes of
another character in the story. Furthermore, there is a merger of the characters and narrators levels of
discourse as in most I-narration novels (Ibid: 216-217).

Green (1989) is one of the scholars who interested with the contribution of the cooperative principle in writing
discourse, according to him the coherence of the text is depending on the effort required to construct an
affordable to advantage to the producer of the text in producing the text. And this depends on the ability of the
sentence itself to give the truth, contribution and relevance to the core of the discourse. Green also pointed out
that the linguistic properties have an essential role to be the text coherence, but not always these properties
make the coherent of the text and achieve the idea of tying of topic of discourse.

The cooperative principle can be applied not only between the characters in the discourse of the novel, but also
between the authors and readers in which they convey messages to them. The author sometimes conveys what

he wants directly or via communication between characters. In both we can expect to reach to the conversational
implicature. The following is a sentence quoted from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen:

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a

The author here violated the quality maxim because no one can accept such a truth. We can assume that the
author speaks in an ironic way, and the meaning can be understood as if this is not a universal truth. The social
conventions of money and marriage are a lot of people behaving as if it were true.

Writing is another form of communication, though the Gricean maxims have been mainly used in spoken
communication. Violating the maxims in the writing cause misunderstanding to get the exact meaning.

In the novel, the reader invited to draw implicature from characters speech and authorial commentary, these two
levels lead to a third kind of implicature derived by the reader (Leech & Short, 1981:242-243).

1.5 How cooperative principle operates with proverbs?

Pragmatically, the literary aspects of proverbs make them important since the proverbs regarded as multifunction
being capable to coordinate with different variety of interaction. So the indirect feature of proverbs makes them
as practical as to meet the needs of everyday communication. For the hearer in the way to interpret the meaning
of the proverb, he firstly needs to look for the literary meaning if it is an appropriate to the context. If it is not then
he should look for figurative meaning, the meaning under the form of a proverb.

Hearers sometimes unwilling to receive advice directly, especially when two interlocutors in the same status,
therefore, the speaker of proverbs intends to hide his/her feeling under the context of a proverb leaving the
interpretation of the messages to the hearer/readers (Norrick, 2007:386). To save face act, most of the speakers
of proverbs tend to tackle the indirect and polite ways in dealing with proverbs due to that the politeness
strategies are a mechanism by which the speaker be able to convey the message to the hearer without causing
any embarrassment.

Harnish(1993) distinguished between the constative and directive with reference to the proverbs. He stated
while the constative uses include the declarative proverbs which express for example, an attitude, giving advice,
and explain something, the directness uses from other hand include imperative proverbs in which it guide and
direct the hearers action.

Concerning with Cooperative Principle and Grices maxims as a theory of analysis of proverbs in present study, it
is important to see how these maxims do with proverbs from the perspective of scholars. Chong (2001) and
Charteris (1995) pointed out to the relation of proverbs to the four maxims and how these maxims manage with
proverbs. In conformity with the maxim of quality which required that the content of communication should be
genuine, proverbs reflect the wisdom of a society and share the background of truth and value. Proverbs being
short and pity, and informative expressions, they coordinate with which the maxim of quantity presupposes the
interlocutors to give the amount of information to fulfill the richness of the conversation. With reference to brief
and order that are essential to avoid the ambiguity and obscurity to the context, the proverb should abide the
manner maxim which emphasizes that the speaker should be clear in his/her speech to avoid obscurity to
understand the message. Finally, proverbs in dealing with relation maxim seem not always be relevant to the
preceded discourse since the metaphorical status makes the relation with the context obscure. So ,in this case
breaking of a maxim has been occurred.

Chong (2001) stated that the proverbs in communication provide a suitable and a good example to describe the
concepts of cooperative principles. Proverbs can observe the four Gricean maxims, quantity, quality, relation,
and manner. With reference to the quantity maxim, the proverbs are abiding to maxim due it is brief but
informative. In an indication of quality, the speakers comprehension should be real and proverbs have proof in
the form of conversation wisdom that they perform. In terms of manner, proverbs regarded as brief and order.
The metaphor and analogy of proverbs make their relation to the topic of the discourse obscure, so the relation
maxim seems to be broken.
Many proverbs employ indirectly to save face and to avoid generate negative feelings, so this case of
indirectness makes the use of proverbs in such a way to be dynamic politeness organize.

Littlemore & Low (2006) indicates that in addition to the indirect function of proverbs in communication, proverbs
also play an important role to begin with a conversation or to change the topic. Interlocutors are used proverbs to
sum up the situations and to summarize the discussion, and also indicate their desire to end the conversation
(Drew& Holt, 1998).

Gibbs (2001) claims that the function of proverbs represented in text related to their power in persuading others.
Interlocutors can win the arguments by using the wisdom of proverbs as a moral authority. For these reasons
Obelkevich (1994) considered the using of proverbs as strategies for dealing with situations.

The context regarded as an essential environment to justify the meaning of proverbs as Mieder (2007) asserted
that in actual use the proverbs refer to the social situations and these in turn gives the proverbs the suitable
meaning. So to say those proverbs will break the maxims are not definitive. Judgment in this matter depends on
the context of the situation and the way in which the speaker wants the proverb to be. It is also true to say that
some proverbs are breaking the maxims whether they occurred in the context or come alone due to the
vocabularies that constitute them. Some vocabularies are hard to believe or cause ambiguous to the context or
in the structure of proverb, some other appears in a supernatural way. So the features of proverbs especially the
metaphorical way play an essential role with proverbs in the conversation.