What is the cooperative principle | Linguistics

Question: What is the cooperative principle? Discuss with reference to Gricean Maxims.

The cooperative principle

The cooperative principle reveals that you should say things that are appropriate for the kind of conversation you are having. To put it differently, the cooperative principle reveals “Make your contribution such as it is necessary, at the stage at which it happens, by the accepted purpose or direction of the talk exchange in which you are engaged “আপনি যে পর্যায়ে নিযুক্ত আছেন সেই আলোচনা বিনিময়ের স্বীকৃত উদ্দেশ্য বা নির্দেশনা অনুসারে আপনার অবদানগুলি করুন যেমন এটি প্রয়োজনীয়।.” This principle was first proposed in the 1970s by the British philosopher of language Paul Grice who is famous for his theory of ‘Implicature’.

The cooperative principle in the light of Gricean Maxims

Gricean Maxims are called the rules of conversation. The conversational maxims deal specifically with communication. The cooperative principle could well be understood in the light of Gricean Maxims which can be broken into four parts which are as follows:

The maxim of quality

This rule is very basic which states that you should always speak the truth with enough evidence to back up what you are talking about. So, this rule of conversation emphasizes being credible.

The maxim of quantity

This rule of conversation expresses that you should be as informative as you need to be. To put it differently, it means to say that you should lay out information that you think is proper.

For example:

“I think some cookies are delicious”. Actually, this sentence bears twice the meaning for the listener because this sentence states that ‘I like some cookies’ and there are some which ‘I do not like’. But if you say that “all cookies are delicious” which is logically truer than এর চেয়ে সত্য “I think some cookies are delicious” that is not logical in accordance with the maxim of quantity অনুসারে যৌক্তিক নয়।

The maxim of manner

This one means that you should talk in a way that is appropriate for the people you are talking with. Now appropriate express four different things here.

1. You should use words that are understandable to your listeners. For instance: “if you say while explaining that the sky is blue or the stars are twinkling”, this will create a difference while you talk with a gardener or third-year university student.

2.       Avoidance of unnecessary prolixity means you should make your point quickly without wasting time. 

3.       You should stay away from ambiguity.

4.    You should speak orderly, which means you should finish your speech from start to end. 

The maxim of relevance

This rule is very simple, and it tells you not to be irrelevant while talking.

Thus, it becomes transparent that Gricean maxims are not merely rules but more guidelines and pretty much universal.

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