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What is a conversational maxim?

 

Definition
 

A conversational maxim is any of four rules which were proposed by Grice 1975, stating that a speaker is assumed to make a contribution that

 
  • is adequately but not overly informative (quantity maxim)
  • the speaker does not believe to be false and for which adequate evidence is had (quality maxim)
  • is relevant (maxim of relation or relevance), and
  • is clear, unambiguous, brief, and orderly (maxim of manner).
Discussion
 

The conversational maxims, along with the cooperative principle, partly account for conversational implicatures.

Sources
 

Levinson 1983 101–104, 113–114

 

Grice 1975 45–46, 49–50

 

Crystal 1985 153


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