The Infringement of Gricean Maxims In Nasreddin’s Stories

Nasreddin Stories Analysis
In this part, we will take some Nasreddin Stories as the sample to fine the Maxim deviation. There would be a term “implicature”. However, An implicature is anything that is inferred from an utterance, but that is not a condition for the truth of the utterance[7]. Let’s review the story first, and then find out the the Maxim abuse.

On the Roof[8].>

Nasreddin Hodja’s old house had a leaking roof. One day the Hodja decided to fix it. He borrowed a ladder and with great difficulty climbed up to the roof.

Just as he was setting off to work, he heard a knock on the door. He looked down from the edge of the roof and saw a stranger in front of his door.

`I am up here.’ Hodja shouted. When the man looked up, `What is it that you want?’ he asked him.
`Please come down,’ replied the man, `I have something to say to you.’

Hodja precariously descended down the old ladder. Once on the ground he again asked the man what he wanted.

`Alms,’ said the man, `could you spare some alms.’

Hodja thought for a second and then told the man to come up to the roof with him. Hodja in front, the beggar behind him, both running short on breath, climbed

up the ladder. Once on the roof top, Hodja turned to the man and said: `I don’t have any.’

Analysis:

In the story, Nasreddin break the maxim of manner. In order to revenge the annoying stranger, he do something very ambiguous. At the first, the stranger call Nasreddin to go down because he want to say something to him. In fact, the stranger just wants to ask for an alms. Nasreddin feels annoyed because he had go to the roof difficultly. Then, he ask the stranger to come up with him. At the roof, Nasredin reply his answer by saying “ I don’t have any”.

Implicature: yes.

When Nasreddin ask the stranger to come up with him, the stranger has the conclusion that Nasredding will give him any alms. In the fact, it is an ambiguous statement because Nasreddin didn’t say to give him an alms before. Also, in this case, Nasreddin didn’t lie completely because he definitely didn’t promise the stranger to give him any alms before. Therefore, this story is breaking the maxim of manner.

Gift Rabbit[9].

A few people from another village, mere acquaintances of Nasreddin Hodja, were in Aksehir for some trade business. At the end of the day, they knocked on Hodja’s door.

`Hodja Effendi, since we were in town, we thought we should pay you a little visit. And, here is a rabbit as a token of our respect for you.’

Hodja welcomed the guests as is the Turkish tradition and asked them to stay for dinner. Hodja’s wife cooked the rabbit and they all made a good meal of it. A few days later, there were people at the door again. Hodja didn’t know who they were, so they had to introduce themselves.

`Nasreddin Hodja, we are the relatives of the folks who brought you the rabbit.’ they explained. They were passing through Aksehir and they thought they drop by. Nasreddin Hodja and his wife opened their home to them as well. They served soup for dinner.

`It is the broth of the rabbit.’ elucidated the Hodja.

Another couple of days passed and there was yet another group of strangers at Hodja’s door.

`We come from the neighbour village of the people who brought you the rabbit.’ they said. Hodja had no choice but to let them in. When it was dinner time, Hodja brought a large pot full of well water to the table.

`What is this, Hodja Effendi?’ inquired the displeased guests.
`It is the broth of the broth of the rabbit.’ Hodja snapped.

Analysis:

In the second story, we can see the last dialogue that breaks the maxim of quality. When the guests who come from the neighbor of a group that give Nasreddin a rabit, he bring a large pot that full of well water to the table. When he asked, he said “It is the broth of the broth of the rabit”. Definitely, it is not true by stating the well water is the broth of the broth of the rabbit. In this case, Nasreddin lies to emphasize the point that he doesn’t have the rabbit soup anymore. It is his technique to realize the annoying visitors.

Implicatures: no.

When the visitors see the well water and Nasreddin tells them that is the broth of the broth of the rabbit, they understand that the rabbit soup is no longer available. The Nasreddin last statement has given the clear message that they won’t get the Rabbit soup. Therefore, the Nasreddin dishonesty is aimed to say that he doesn’t have the rabbit soup anymore.

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