Research methods in translation and interpreting studies
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Research Methods in Translation and Interpreting Studies. Cooperative Principle and Culture-Specific Maxims 10 December 2007. Cooperative Principle. Grice’s Cooperative Principle (CP)

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Research methods in translation and interpreting studies

Research Methods in Translation and Interpreting Studies

Cooperative Principle and Culture-Specific Maxims

10 December 2007


Cooperative principle

Cooperative Principle

  • Grice’s Cooperative Principle (CP)

    • Make your conversational contribution such as is required, at the stage at which it occurs, by the accepted purpose or direction of the talk exchange in which you are engaged (Grice 1991: 307).


Grice s conversational maxims

Grice’s Conversational Maxims

  • Maxim of Quantity

  • Maxim of Quality (try to make your contribution one that is true)

  • Maxim of Relation (be relevant)

  • Maxim of Manner (be perspicuous)


Grice s conversational maxims1

Grice’s Conversational Maxims

  • Maxim of Quantity

    • Submaxim: Make your contribution as informative as is required for the current purposes of the exchange.

    • Do not make your contribution more informative than is required.


Grice s conversational maxims2

Grice’s Conversational Maxims

  • Maxim of Quality

    • Submaxim: Do not say what you believe to be false.

    • Submaxim: Do not say that for which you lack adequate evidence.


Grice s conversational maxims3

Grice’s Conversational Maxims

  • Maxim of Manner

    • Submaxim: Avoid obscurity of expression.

    • Submaxim: Avoid ambiguity.

    • Submaxim: Be brief (avoid unnecessary prolixity).

    • Submaxim: Be orderly.


Grice s conversational maxims4

Grice’s Conversational Maxims

  • Options available to a speaker

    • Follow the maxims;

    • Violate a maxim;

    • ‘Opt out’ of a maxim;

    • Violate a maxim in order to obey another (where maxims clash);

    • Deliberately flout a maxim in order to communicate an implied meaning.


Intentionally conveyed meaning

Intentionally conveyed meaning

  • What is said

  • What is conventionally implicated

  • What is implicated in other ways, by violation of e.g. aesthetic, social or moral maxims

  • What is implicated by observation of the conversational maxims in general

  • What is implicated by the apparent violation of a conversational maxim in a particular context


Intentionally conveyed meaning1

Intentionally conveyed meaning

  • What is said

    • The propositional context expressed by an utterance, e.g. He is in the grip of a vice.


Intentionally conveyed meaning2

Intentionally conveyed meaning

  • What is conventionally implicated

    • Meaning conveyed by linguistic convention but which does not contribute to the proposition expressed, e.g. He is an Englishman; he is, therefore, brave. The use of therefore conventionally implicates that being brave is a consequence of being an Englishman.


Intentionally conveyed meaning3

Intentionally conveyed meaning

  • What is implicated in other ways

    • Meaning conveyed by violation of a communicative norm, such as that of politeness or some social norm relating to forms of address, for instance. E.g.

      Policeman: What’s your name, boy?

      Doctor:Doctor Poussaint. I’m a physician ...

      Policeman:What’s your first name, boy?

      Doctor:Alvin. (Ervin-Tripp 1972)


Intentionally conveyed meaning4

Intentionally conveyed meaning

  • What is implicated by observation of the conversational maxims in general

    • Meaning conveyed by the assumption that the speaker is observing the conversational maxims in general: if A says I am out of petrol and B replies There’s a garage round the corner, then B – who is obeying the maxim of relation – implies that the garage is or likely to be open, and that it sells petrol.


Intentionally conveyed meaning5

Intentionally conveyed meaning

  • What is implicated by the apparent violation of a conversational maxim in a particular context

    • E.g. (of a mutual friend C, working in a bank), A asks how C is getting on with the new job and B answers: Oh quite well, I think; he likes his colleagues, and he hasn’t been to prison yet (violating at least the maxim of relation, possibly to imply that C is dishonest). Other examples: metaphor (e.g. You are the cream in my coffee), irony, hyperbole, understatement, tautologies (e.g. Men are men).


Culture specificity of maxims

Culture-specificity of maxims

  • Reworded version of the CP

    • Make your conversational contribution such as is required during a conversation in your culture, at the stage at which it occurs, by the accepted purpose or direction of the talk exchange in which you are engaged.


Culture specificity of maxims1

Culture-specificity of maxims

  • Options for dealing with the culture-specificity of maxims in translation

    • Spell out implicatures

    • Provide conventional cues (e.g. of irony)


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