Comedy, Context and Unsaid Meaning: A Case Study in Conversational Implicature

Document Type: Original Article

Author

Department of Foreign Languages, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Kharazmi University, Tehran, Iran

Abstract

Pragmatics moves away from the word level and sentence level study of language towards the study of language in real-world context and at discourse level whereby two or more participants take part in conversation. There are moments when the speaker explicitly says something but the listener may have other interpretations and inferences from their statements. The aim of this study was to demonstrate that in some special situations or contexts, especially in comedy, conversational implicature is more likely to take place than others are. The researcher employed qualitative and quantitative content analysis (mixed method) to do our research to increase the validity and lower the subjectivity of findings. The first and second series of a British situation comedy called „Blackadder‟, containing twelve episodes along with their Persian translations were selected as a source for our critical discourse analysis. The results of this study suggested that in comical contexts we seem to witness more cases of the non-observance of Grice's Maxims than other settings. An implication of this is the possibility that the violation of the cooperative principle occurs mostly with the aim of creating the feeling of humor. 

Keywords


Benz, A., Jasinskaja, K., & Salfner, F. (2013). Implicature and discourse structure: An introduction. Lingua, 132, 1-12.

Bilmes, J. (1993). Ethnomethodology, culture, and implicature: Toward an empirical pragmatics. Pragmatics, 3(4), 387-409.

Birner, B. J. (2012). Introduction to pragmatics (Vol. 38). John Wiley & Sons.

Blome-Tillmann, M. (2008). Conversational implicature and the cancellability test. Analysis, 68(2), 156-160.

Grice, H. P. (1970). Logic and conversation. 41-58.

Levinson, S. C. (2010). Generalized conversational implicature. In The pragmatics encyclopedia (pp. 201-203). Routledge

Noveck, I. A. (2001). When children are more logical than adults: Experimental investigations of scalar implicature. Cognition, 78(2), 165-188.

Wang, H. (2011). Conversational implicature in English listening comprehension. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 2(5), 1162-1167.

Xiaosu, Y. (2010). Conversational implicature analysis of humor in American situation comedy “friends”.