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Breaking maxims in conversation: A comparative study of how scriptwriters break maxims in Desperate Housewives and That 70’s Show
Karlstad University, Division for Culture and Communication.
2006 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 points / 15 hpStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

When we converse we constantly fail to observe the rules of conversation in order to simplify and make dialogues more effective. The scriptwriters who work with TV shows use non-observances of maxims in order to evoke different feelings from their viewers. The aim of this paper was to investigate how frequently non-observances of maxims occurred in the TV shows Desperate Housewives and That 70’s Show. I examined where and why they were used as well as how often flouting was used compared to violations. The base of the study was a drama and a comedy show.

Research has shown that the maxim of relevance is most frequently used to create different comical or dramatic situations. The scriptwriters have their characters ignore what is relevant to the situations in order to make them come off as flustered, odd and stupid in humorous situations and as mysterious, cowardly, respectful or bold in dramatic situations. Also research shows that flouting occurs more frequently than violations when it comes to breaking maxims. Violations occur most often with the maxim of quality when the characters lie to mislead in order to direct blame away from him/herself. In Conclusion, this investigation has shown that non-observances of maxims are important for scriptwriters in order to create humorous and dramatic situations in verbal interaction.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. , p. 37
Keywords [en]
Conversational maxims, implicature, Paul Grice, Cooperative principle, Non-observances, Meaning in conversation
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URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-19OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-19DiVA, id: diva2:5829
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humaniora/teologi
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Available from: 2006-02-07 Created: 2006-02-07 Last updated: 2018-01-11

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf