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The Cooperative Principle and Politeness Principle. Made by 万雅思 魏源 李莎莎 薛冰 胡学超. The Theory of Conversational Implicature. Speaking means that we express the meaning through language, and this meaning usually divide into two parts, that is : The literal meaning The implied meaning

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the cooperative principle and politeness principle

The Cooperative Principle and Politeness Principle

Made by

万雅思 魏源 李莎莎 薛冰 胡学超

the theory of conversational implicature
The Theory of Conversational Implicature

Speaking means that we express the meaning through language, and this meaning usually divide into two parts, that is:

  • The literal meaning
  • The implied meaning

According to the content, it includes two groups:

  • The direct speaking content
  • The indirect speaking content
The direct speaking content--------The literal meaning
  • The indirect speaking content-------The implied meaning

the convention the non-convention

what did you say
What did you say?

There are two understandings about this sentence.

  • First, we really didn’t hear it clearly.
  • Second, we know its literal meaning,but do not understand its purpose.

Therefore, there is always some distance between the utterance and the true purpose. And this true purpose refers to the coverastional implicature.

Annie:Was the dessert any good?Mark:Annie,cherry pie is cherry pie.
  • By saying“cherry pie is cherry pie”instead of making a direct “yes”or “no”, clearly Mike insends to communicate more than what is said and assumes Annie understands it. This additionally conveyed meaning is called a conversational implicature,often referred to as an implicature.
a are you going to john s birthday party b i ve heard marry is going
A: Are you going to John’s birthday party?B: I’ve heard Marry is going.
  • Unlike presupposition and entailment, implicature are inferences that can not on the context of the utterence and shared knowledge between the speaker and the listener.
the cooperative principle
The cooperative principle
  • 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.


the maxim of cp
The Maxim of CP
  • The Maxim of Quantity
  • The Maxim of Quality
  • The Maxim of Relation
  • The Maxim of Manner
the maxim of quantity
The Maxim of Quantity
  • Make your contribution as informative as is required(for the current purpose of the exchange).
  • Do not make your contribution more informative than is required.
the maxim of quality
The maxim of quality

Try to make your contribution one that is true

  • Do not say what you believe to be false.
  • Do not say that for which you lack adquate evidence.
the maixm of manner
The Maixm of Manner

Be perspicuous

  • Avoid obscurity of expression.
  • Aviod ambiguity.
  • Be brief (aviod prolixility).
  • Be orderly.
cooperative principle
Cooperative principle







What to say

How to say it.

The cooperative principle is not prescriptive but descriptive.
  • In daily life, speakers often violate the maxims of CP to express some implied meanings.
the emerging of conversational implicatures
The emerging of conversational implicatures

According to Grice’s view, conversational implicatures can emerge observing or dis- observing the cooperative principle and its maxims.

  • Generalized conversational implicature---------observing
  • Particularized conversational implicature-------dis-obsreving
Mike:Did you get the milk and the eggs?
  • Jane:I got the milk.
  • A: Are you going to John’s birthday party?
  • B: I’ve heard Marry is going.
Generalized conversational implicatures can be drawn with little inside knowledge.
  • Particularized implicature requires not only general knowledge but also kowledge which is particular or local to the speaker and the listener. And often to the physical context of the utterance as well.
violation of the maxims
Violation of the maxims
  • In Grice view, conversational implicatures can only be worked out on the basis of the CP, so he first distinguishs some exceptions which can not cause coversational implicatures from other parts of violation.
The speaker does not communicate with the hearer at all. For example “I don’t know.” “I don’t want to talk anything about it.”
  • To tell lies.
  • To violate one maxim in order to obey another maxim.
A: Where does X live?
  • B: Somewhere in the suburbs of the city.
the real generalized coversational implicatures emerging
the real generalized coversational implicatures emerging
  • The speaker violates one maxim on purpose, and at the same time he/she wants the listener to know that he/she violates that maxim.
  • Grice considers it as the flouting of CP

Two choices

End the communication

Continue based on the CP

the general pattern of calculating conversational implicatures
The general pattern of calculating conversational implicatures
  • 说话人说了p
  • 没有理由认为他没有遵守各项会话准则,至少他遵守了合作原则。
  • 除非他认为q,否则他就不能遵守合作原则。
  • 他知道(而且知道我知道他知道)我能看出来有必要假定他认为q.
  • 他没有做任何事来阻止我认为q.
  • 因此,它隐含q.
the violation of the maxim of quantity
The violation of the maxim of quantity
  • Dear sir,

Mr. X’s command of English is excellent and his attendance at tutorials has been regular.



boys are boys war is war
Boys are boys.War is war.
  • A:Where does D live?
  • B:Some where in the South of France.
Ivy: Where is ice-cream?
  • Vivien:He went to the library .He had said that before he left.
  • A:你叫什么名字?
  • B:我叫魏淑芬,今年29,至今未婚。
violation of the maixm of quality
Violation of the Maixm of Quality
  • He is a tiger.
  • Tom has wooden ears.
  • He is a machine.
violation of the maixm of relation
Violation of the Maixm of Relation
  • A: What is the time is it now?
  • B:The mail has already come.
  • A:Can you answer the telephone?
  • B:I am in the bath.
violation of the maixm of manner
Violation of the Maixm of Manner
  • A: Let us get the children something.
  • B:Ok, but I vote i-c-e c-r-e-a-m-s.
  • Never seek to tell thy love,

love that never told can be.

-----William Blake



  • A:“那你们站长呢?
  • B:“别提了,比的没办法了上调了。”
  • A:哎呀,就这么上吊,死的太冤了。”
  • B:什么,上边来个人把它调走了。”
  • A:啊,调工作了。
Miss X produced a series of sounds that corresponded closely with the score of “Home,Sweet Home”.
The had a baby and got married.
  • 北京的红叶都枫(疯)了。
  • 屡败屡战
characteristics of implicature
Characteristics of implicature
  • Calculability----可推导性
  • Cancellability----可取消性
  • Non-detachability----不可分离性
  • Non-conventionality-----非规约性
  • The fact that speakers try to convey conversational implicatures and hearers are able to understand them suggests that implicatures are calculable.

They can be worked out on the basis of some previous information. Grice lists the nessary data as follows:

The conventional meaning of the words used,together that may be involved.
  • The CP and its maxims
  • The context,linguistic or otherwise,of the utterance.
  • Other items of background knowledge
  • The fact or supposed fact that all participants and both participants know or assume this to be the case.
  • Cancellability is also known as defeasibility(可废除性).
  • The conversational implicatures rely on some factors, such as the conventional meaning of wors used, the CP, the linguistic and situational contexts,etc. so if any of them changes, the implicature will also change.
A. John has three cows.
  • B.John has only three cows.
  • C. John has three cows, if not more.
  • D. John has at least three cows.
A: You are the cream in my coffee.

(But I am afraid I do not quite like cream in my coffee.)

non detachability
  • Non-detachability means that a conversational implicature is attached to the semantic content of what is said, not to the linguistic form.
he is a bad friend
He is a bad friend.
  • He is a good friend.
  • He is a friend in need.
  • He is a nice guy.
  • He is always ready to help.
  • He never leaves you in the lurch.
A: The hostess is an awful bore,don’t you think so?
  • B:The roses are lovely, aren’t they?
  • B1: It is a sunny day.
non conventionality
  • Implicature is indeterminate, which varies with the context.
Conversational implicature as a type of implied meaning, which is deduced on the basis of the conventional meaning of words together with the context, under the guidance of the CP and its maxims.
the drawbacks of grice s cp
The drawbacks of Grice’s CP
  • 在语言交际中,合作原则究竟是否是交际的最高原则?合作原则之下的个准则作用如何?这几条之间的关系如何?
  • Grice 的会话含义理论研究的是特殊会话含义,而未能涵盖一般会话含义,这就限制了理论的解释力。
  • 合作原则只解释了人们间接的使用语言所产生的会话含义,及其对会话含义的理解却没有解释在日常生活中人们为什么要拐弯抹角,不采取直截了当的方式进行交际,让听话人去推导会话含义。即合作原则解释了话语的字面意思和实际意义之间的关系,却没有解释为什么人们会违反合作原则,以间接含蓄的方式表达思想,进行交流。
the politeness principle
The politeness principle
  • Politeness is usually regarded by most pragmatics as a meant or strategy which is usually by the speaker to achieves,such as saving face,establishing and mantaining hamonious social relations in conversation.
  • Leech looks on politeness as the crucial in accounting for why people are so often indirect in conveying what they mean.He thus puts forward PP so as to rescue the CP in the sense that PP can satisfactorily explain exception to and apparent deviations from the CP.
A: We’ll miss Bill and Agatha, won’t we?
  • B: Well, we’ll all miss Bill.
  • Parents: Someone’s eaten the icing off the cake.
  • Child: It wasn’t me.
the classification of leech s theory
The classification of Leech’s theory
  • Competitive(竞争类)
  • Convivial(和谐类)
  • Collaborative(合作类)
  • Conflictive(冲突类)
some polite relating factors
Some polite-relating factors
  • Self----Other
  • Benefit(惠) ---Cost(损)


  • A)Clean the house for me.
  • B) Buy me a stamp.
  • C) Sit down.
  • D) Have another cup of tea.
  • E) Come and join us in the picnic.







A) Lend me some money.
  • B) I want you to lend me some money.
  • C) Will you lend me some money?
  • D) Can you lend me some money?
  • E) Could you lend me some money?
  • F) Would it be possiable for you to do me a favour by lending me some money?
the six maxims of the pp
The six maxims of the PP

Maxim of tact(in directives and commissives)

  • Minimize cost to other.
  • Maximize benefit to other.

Maxim of generosity(in directives and commissives)

  • Minimize benefit to self.
  • Maximize cost to self.

Maxim of approbation(inexpresssive and assertives)

  • Minimize dispraise of other.
  • Maximize praise of other.

Maxim of modesty(inexpresssive and assertives)

  • Minimize praise of self.
  • Maximize dispraise of self.
Maxim of agreement(in assertives)
  • Minimize disagreement between self and other.
  • Maximize agreement between self and other.

Maxim of sympothy(in assertives)

  • Minimize antipathy between self and other
  • Maximize sympothy between self and other.
maxim of tact
Maxim of tact
  • Would it be possiable for you to lend me your car?
  • Could you lend me your car?
  • Will you lend me your car?
  • Lend your car.
  • You must lend me your car!
maxim of generosity
Maxim of generosity
  • You must have another sandwich.
  • Do you have another sandwich?
  • Please have another sandwich.
  • Would you like to have another sandwich?
  • Would it be possiable for you to have another sandwich?
  • Would you mind having another sandwich?
maxim of approbation
Maxim of approbation
  • You are the best cook in the world.
  • What a marvellous cook you are!
  • You are really a good cook.
  • You certainly know something about cooking.
maxim of modesty
Maxim of modesty
  • A:What a bright boy you are! You always get full marks.
  • B:Thank you. I have very good teachers.
  • B2:Thank you. The exam questions are not that hard.
  • B3:Thank you,but I am not the only one in the class that gets full marks.
  • B4:Yes, I am, ain’t I?
maxim of agreement
Maxim of agreement
  • A: That dress she is wearing is beautiful, don’t you think so?
  • B1:Yes,absolutely.
  • B2:Yes,I could’t agreee with you more.
  • B3:Well, I like the color.
  • B4:I don’t think it is beautiful at all.
maxim of sympothy
Maxim of sympothy
  • A:I lost my kitten last week and I still can not get over it.
  • B1:It is the most unfortunate that you lost your pet.
  • B2:I know what it is like. You have all my sypathy.
  • B3:I am sorry to hear that.
  • B4:So,we don’t annoyed by that nasty little animal any more.
the disadvantages of pp
The disadvantages of PP
  • 其礼貌原则的最大不足是最礼貌的得体性没有给与充分的考虑。
  • Leech 在陈述礼貌原则是用了最大,最小,尽力缩小。尽力夸大的这样的提法,显然是比较极端的。徐盛桓指责这种提法过于理想化和绝对化。