Thursday, March 06, 2008

Maybe a pre-interview would have helped

Violations of Gricean maxims of cooperation are easy enough to create in a classroom setting for illustration. In the wild they often occur because of a misunderstanding. It's a little tougher to find good examples of willing violations -- or knowingly uncooperative discourse.

A quick recap of the four principles as set up by Grice (1975):

Quantity - Be as informative as necessary and no more.
Quality - Be as accurate as you can be.
Relation - Be relevant.
Manner - Be clear unambiguous direct and well-ordered.

Today's example: a violation of the maxim of relation.

The clip has been around long enough to have inspired parodies. But I found it just recently.


  1. I'm sorry, I don't have anything linguisticsy to say (besides that word I just made up), but I just died laughing in a place where it's not appropriate to die such a death.

  2. This reminds me of when I was grading Bryce G.'s paper, and at the end of a paragraph, he wrote, "All seriousness aside, I like Jello."


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