Yıl 2017, Cilt 3, Sayı 7, Sayfalar 284 - 288 2017-04-30

VIOLATION OF GRICE’S MAXIMS AND AMBIGUITY IN ENGLISH LINGUISTIC JOKES

Ilham Taghiyev [1]

38 268

The English believe that being English is first of all having a good sense of humor. Therefore, a shameful thing for them is to be regarded as a person with no sense of humor. Thus, English humor, which is very sophisticated, aristocratic and subtle, is widely used in their everyday life. This paper aims to find out the relationship between the violation of Grice’s maxims and the ambiguity that induce humor and laughter in each case of violation.

The present paper studies the types of ambiguity which are the most popular device in the process of creation of English linguistic verbal jokes matching them to the violation of Grice’s maxims that form an important constituent of linguistic verbal jokes. First, Grice’s Cooperative Principles, their violation and the way how they are violated are considered. Then, ambiguity in English linguistic jokes is defined and categorized. After that, ten randomly chosen English linguistic jokes (five lexical-semantic and five structural-syntactic jokes respectively) are analyzed demonstrating the violation and the manner of violation of Grice’s maxims in them.

If people said exactly what they meant, and if people understood their interlocutors’ intention and interpreted what they heard correctly, there would be no linguistic humor. According to American philosopher Paul Grice, people observe certain cooperative principle to conduct successful interaction. Thus, Grice suggests four main maxims (or super maxims) viz. maxims of quantity, quality, relation and manner within his famous Cooperative Principles, the violation of which can cause misunderstanding that is one of the main sources of linguistic jokes. The above four super maxims can be violated in four ways: 1) quietly and unostentatiously, 2) by opting out of a maxim, 3) coping with a clash between maxims, and 4) flouting a maxim in order to exploit it. (Grice, 1975, pp. 45-49).

In linguistics, ambiguity is defined as words, phrases or sentences that express more than one meaning. (Crystal, 2008, p.22). According to another definition, ambiguity is a construction which admits more than one interpretation. Salvatore Attardo et al. (1994), in their study of a corpus of two thousand jokes, found out that four hundred and thirty-one of the four hundred and forty-one verbal jokes, i. e. about ninety-eight percent, were ambiguity based. Ambiguity itself falls two main types – lexical-semantic and structural-syntactic. In the first case, any word or sentence has more than one meaning, in the second case, the role of any word or its relation with other constituents in the sentence has more than one possibility.

In linguistic jokes, the humorous effect is achieved through lexical-semantic or structural-syntactic ambiguity where Grice’s maxims are violated. Thus, the main conclusion will be as follows:

In the first line of two-linear verbal linguistic jokes, Grice’s maxims of quantity (make your contribution as informative as required) and manner (avoid ambiguity) are violated. In the second line (punch line), Grice’s maxims of relation (be relevant) and manner (avoid ambiguity) are violated. Maxims of quantity and manner are violated quietly and unostentatiously, whereas maxim of relation is violated by flouting the maxim.

The present study paves the way for future studies in terms of finding out the relationship between types of ambiguity in verbal linguistic jokes on the one hand, and the violation of Grice’s maxims in these jokes and manner of this violation on the other.
Grice’s maxims, English humor, Linguistic jokes, ambiguity
  • Attardo S., H. Attardo, D. Baltes P., &Petray, M.J. (1994). The Linear Organization of Jokes: Analysis of Two Thousand Texts. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research 7(1), 27-54. Crystal D.,(2008). A Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics 6th Edition. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. Gao Chao, (2013). A Pragmatic Study of Ambiguity and Puns in English Humor. 2nd International Conference on Management Science and Industrial Engineering. 666-669. Giorgadze M., (2014). Linguistic Features of Pun, Its Typology and Classification. European Scientific Journal, Special edition, vol.2, 271-275. Grice P., (1975). Logic and Conversation. Syntax and Semantics 3, 41-58. Lew R., (1996). An Ambiguity-based Theory of the Linguistic verbal Jokes in English. Doctor’s Thesis, Adam Mickiewicz University. Sanchez Roura, (1995). Syntactic Ambiguity as a Device in British Humour. Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses, 8, 209-228. Ross A.,(2005). The Language of Humor, London & New York, Routledge. Seewoester S.,(2009). Linguistic Ambiguity in Language-based Jokes. Master’s Thesis, DePaul University.
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Yazar: Ilham Taghiyev
Ülke: Azerbaijan


Bibtex @araştırma makalesi { ijasos309688, journal = {International E-Journal of Advances in Social Sciences}, issn = {}, eissn = {2411-183X}, address = {OCERINT International Organization Center of Academic Research}, year = {2017}, volume = {3}, pages = {284 - 288}, doi = {10.18769/ijasos.309688}, title = {VIOLATION OF GRICE’S MAXIMS AND AMBIGUITY IN ENGLISH LINGUISTIC JOKES}, key = {cite}, author = {Taghiyev, Ilham} }
APA Taghiyev, I . (2017). VIOLATION OF GRICE’S MAXIMS AND AMBIGUITY IN ENGLISH LINGUISTIC JOKES. International E-Journal of Advances in Social Sciences, 3 (7), 284-288. DOI: 10.18769/ijasos.309688
MLA Taghiyev, I . "VIOLATION OF GRICE’S MAXIMS AND AMBIGUITY IN ENGLISH LINGUISTIC JOKES". International E-Journal of Advances in Social Sciences 3 (2017): 284-288 <http://ijasos.ocerintjournals.org/issue/28912/309688>
Chicago Taghiyev, I . "VIOLATION OF GRICE’S MAXIMS AND AMBIGUITY IN ENGLISH LINGUISTIC JOKES". International E-Journal of Advances in Social Sciences 3 (2017): 284-288
RIS TY - JOUR T1 - VIOLATION OF GRICE’S MAXIMS AND AMBIGUITY IN ENGLISH LINGUISTIC JOKES AU - Ilham Taghiyev Y1 - 2017 PY - 2017 N1 - doi: 10.18769/ijasos.309688 DO - 10.18769/ijasos.309688 T2 - International E-Journal of Advances in Social Sciences JF - Journal JO - JOR SP - 284 EP - 288 VL - 3 IS - 7 SN - -2411-183X M3 - doi: 10.18769/ijasos.309688 UR - http://dx.doi.org/10.18769/ijasos.309688 Y2 - 2017 ER -
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