Tropos Kynikos: Jaroslav Hašek's The Good Soldier Švejk

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The Good Soldier Švejk by Jaroslav Hašek    57

operative, interlocutors should observe four general con­versational maxims:

Quantity (M.Qn.)

1. Make your contribution as informative as is required (for the current purpose of ex­change).
2. Do not make your contribution more informative than is required.

Quality (M.Q1.)

1. Do not say what you believe is false.
2. Do not say that for which you lack adequate evidence.
Relation (M.R.) 1. Be relevant.

Manner (M.M.)

1. Avoid obscurity of expression.
2. Avoid ambiguity.
3. Be brief (avoid unnecessary prolixity).
4. Be orderly. (45-46)

Grice is extremely careful to avoid the impression that his "maxims of felicitous conversation" are either exhaustive or all-inclusive. He allows that in a conversation some other maxims might be observed (aesthetic, social, moral) to implement a specific goal toward which the talk is di­rected. Furthermore, not all conversations, he concedes, are dedicated to­tally to the most effective passage of information, and so these maxims will have to be broadened to accommodate various strategic uses of lan­guage. Finally, not every instance of nonfulfillment of the four maxims necessarily entails the abandonment of the CP. Grice lists four ways in which a speaker might fail to observe a maxim:

1. He may quietly and unostentatiously violate a maxim; if so, in some cases he will be liable to mislead.
2. He may opt our from the operation both of the maxim and the CP; he may say, indicate, or allow it to become plain that he is unwilling to co­operate in the way the maxim requires....
3. He might be faced by a clash: He may be unable, for example, to fulfill the first maxim of Quantity (Be as informative as is required) without vi­olating the second maxim of Quality (Have adequate evidence for what you say).
4. He may flout a maxim; that is may blatantly fail to fulfill it. On the as­sumption that the speaker is able to fulfill the maxim and to do so with­out violating another maxim (because of a clash), is not opting out, and is not, in view of the blatancy of his performance, trying to mislead, the hearer is faced with a minor problem: How can his saying what he did say be reconciled with the supposition that he is observing the overall CP?

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