Official 20 Set 2

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Gricean Maxims

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What is the main topic of the lecture?
  • A. The reasons people are not always truthful in conversations

  • B. The need for greater regulation of language used in advertising

  • C. The need for maximum precision and detail in everyday conversation

  • D. The role of certain rules in determining what a speaker means

显示答案 正确答案: D

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    NARRATOR:Listen to part of a lecture in a linguistics class.

    FEMALE PROFESSOR:OK, the conventions or assumptions that govern conversation- these may vary from one culture to another, but basically, for people to communicate, there's, uh- they have to follow certain rules.Like, if I'm talking with you, and I start saying things that're not true- if you can't tell when I'm lying and when I'm telling the truth, well, we're not going to have a very...satisfactory conversation, are we?Why? Because it violates one of the "Gricean maxims."

    That's a set of rules or maxims a philosopher named H. P. Grice came up with in the 1970s.One of these Gricean maxims is... well, I've already given you a hint.

    MALE STUDENT:Oh, you just can't go around telling lies.

    Right-or, as Grice put it, "Do not say what you believe to be false."That's one of Grice's maxims of quality, as he called it.So that's pretty obvious, but there're others just as important.Like, ah, suppose you were to ask me what time it was, and I replied, "My sister just got married."What would you think?

    MALE STUDENT:Uh, you're not really answering my question!

    FEMALE PROFESSOR:No, I m not, am I? There's no connection at all, which feels wrong because you generally expect to find one.So one important maxim is simply, "Be relevant."And using this so-called maxim of relevance, we can infer things as well- or rather, the speaker can imply things and the listener can make inferences.For instance, suppose you say you'd really love to have a cup of coffee right now.And I say, "There's a shop around the corner."Now, what can you infer from what I said?

    MALE STUDENT:Well, that the shop sells coffee, for one thing.

    FEMALE PROFESSOR:Right! And that I believe it's open now.Because if I weren't implying those things, my response would not be relevant.It'd have no connection with what you said before.But according to the maxim, my response should be relevant to your statement, meaning we should assume some connection between the statement and the response.And this maxim of relevance is quite efficient to use; even if I don't spell out all the details, you can still make some useful logical inferences, namely "the shop is open" and "it sells coffee."If we actually had to explain all these details, conversations would move along pretty slowly, wouldn't they?

    OK, then there's the maxims of manner, including things like "Be clear" and "Avoid ambiguity."And another, more interesting maxim is one of the so-called maxims of quantity- quantity of information, that is.It says to give as much information as is required in the situation.So suppose you ask me what I did yesterday and I say, "I went to the art museum."You would likely infer that I saw some works of art.Suppose though that I did not go inside the museum, I just walked up to it, then left.Then I've violated the quantity maxim by not giving enough information.So you can see how important implications are to our ability to carry on a conversation.

    But there are times when people will violate these maxims on purpose.Let's say a boss is asked to write a letter of recommendation for a former employee seeking an engineering job.The letter he writes is quite brief- something like, uh, Mr. X is polite and always dresses neatly.So what does this really mean?

    FEMALE STUDENT:Oh, I see. By not mentioning any important qualities related to the job, the boss is, like, implying that this is the best that can be said about Mr. X- that he's really not qualified.

    FEMALE PROFESSOR:Exactly. It's a written letter, not a conversation, but the principle's the same.The boss is conveying a negative impression of Mr. X without actually saying anything negative about him.So, by violating the maxims, we, ah-it-it can be a way to be subtle or polite...or to convey humor, through sarcasm or irony.

    Sometimes, though, people will violate maxims for another purpose-to deceive. [sarcastically] Now, can you imagine who might do such a thing?

    MALE STUDENT:Some politicians!

    FEMALE STUDENT:Or advertisers.

    FEMALE PROFESSOR:Right. Anyone who may see an advantage in implying certain things that are untrue... without explicitly saying something untrue.They think, "Hey, don't blame us if our audience happens to draw inferences that're simply not true."So next time you see an advertisement saying some product "could be up to 20 percent more effective,"think of these maxims of quantity and relevance and ask yourself what inferences you're being led to draw.Think: "More effective than what, exactly?" And why did they use those little phrases "could be" and "up to"?These claims give us a lot less information than they seem to.

  • 旁白:听语言学课上的一部分课。

    教授:好,支配会话的准则或前提,这些可能因为文化的不同而不同,但基本上说,交流对于人们而言,有必须遵守的某些规则。比如,如果我和你说话,我开始说不真实的事情—如果你不知道我什么时候撒谎,什么时候我说实话,那么,我们不会有一个非常令人满意的谈话,是吗?为什么?因为它违反了一个“会话合作原则”。

    这是一套规则或格言,一位哲学家H. P. Grice在20世纪70年代提出的。其中一个会话合作原则是…嗯,我已经给你一个提示。

    学生:哦,你就是不能到处说谎。

    对,或者,正如格莱斯所说的,“不要说你认为错误的话。”这是格莱斯的质量格言之一,正如他所称的那样。这是很明显的,但也有其他重要的。比如,假设你问我现在是什么时候,我回答说:“我姐姐刚结婚。”你会怎么想?

    学生:呃,你不是真的回答我的问题!

    教授:是的,我没有回答你的问题!我给出的答案和你想要的答案之间一点关系都没有,听到这种回答,我们心里会觉得这有问题。因此,一个重要的格言就是“要有关联”。用这个所谓的关联准则,我们也可以推断出事情的真相—或者更确切地说,说话者可以暗示事物,听者可以做出推论。例如,假设你说你现在真的很想喝杯咖啡。我说:“拐角处有家商店。”现在,你能从我说的话中推断出什么?

    学生:嗯,首先那家商店卖咖啡。

    教授:正确的!我相信它现在是开着的。因为如果我没有暗示这些事情,我的回答就不相关了。这和你之前说的毫无关系。但按照格言,我的回答应该与你的陈述有关,意思是我们应该在陈述和回答之间建立某种联系。这个关联性的格言是很有效的;即使我没有讲清楚所有细节,你仍然可以做出一些有用的逻辑推论,即“商店是开着的”和“它卖咖啡”。如果我们真的必须解释所有这些细节,谈话会进展得很慢,不是吗?

    好的,这就是方式准则,包括“清楚”和“避免歧义”之类的东西。另一个更有趣的格言是所谓的数量格言,即话语的信息量。它说要提供尽可能多的信息。假设你问我昨天做了什么,我说, “我去了美术馆。”你可能会推断我看到了一些艺术品。假设我没有进博物馆,我只是走上前去,然后离开了。然后,我违反了数量准则,没有提供足够的信息。所以你可以看到暗示对我们进行谈话的能力有多重要。

    但有时人们会故意违背这些准则。假设一位老板被要求为一位寻求工程工作的前雇员写一封推荐信。他写的信很简短—嗯,X先生很有礼貌,总是穿得很整洁。那么,这到底意味着什么呢?

    学生:哦,我明白了。不提及与工作有关的任何重要品质,老板是想要暗示X先生不能胜任工作。

    教授:正是这样的。这是一封书面信,不是谈话,但原理是一样的。老板事实上没有说任何负面的话便传达了对X先生的负面印象。所以,通过违反准则,我们,这可能是一种微妙或礼貌的方式…或者通过挖苦或讽刺来表达幽默。

    然而,有时人们会为了另一个目的而违背格言—欺骗他人。现在,你能想象谁会做这样的事吗?

    学生:一些政客!

    学生:或广告商。

    教授:正确!任何人都会看到这样表达的优势:暗示某些不真实的东西,但不明确说出来。他们认为,“嘿,如果我们的观众碰巧得出了一些不真实的推论,不要责怪我们。”所以下次你看到一个广告说某个产品“可能高达20%更有效,” 想想这些数量和相关性的格言,问问自己,你被引导得出的推论是什么?想想看:“比什么更有效?”为什么他们会使用那些“可以”和“最多”的短语呢?这些主张给我们的信息比他们的表象似乎少了很多。

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    题型分类:主旨题

    音频定位:Why? Because it violates one of the Gricean maxims.

    选项分析:整篇lecture在讲Gricean maxims

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