In daily conversation, it must be an interaction between at least two people. When somebody asks something, the receiver must answer with an appropriate answer. For instance, when somebody ask “do you feel hungry?”, and we answer “Yes I do”. That example shows the clear and efficient answer which is expected by the speaker. However, let’s compare to this case. Somebody ask “Do you feel hungry?”, and we reply “I’ve not eaten for three days”. In speaker’s mind, he has got the answer that is the hearer feels hungry, but looks at the answer. If we see in the glance, is it appropriate? In fact, the hearer can only reply with “yes” or “yes, I do”. In this case, the hearer answer it exaggerately in order to emphasize his message. The hearer wants to add the additional message that he feels very hungry, not means that he really hasn’t eaten for 3 days. Moreover, let’s we review all the four Grice’s Maxims.
- Maxim of Quantity.
In this maxim, in order to make an appropriate language, we should make our contribution to the conversation as informative as necessary. Also, do not make our contribution to the conversation more informative than necessary.
For example is when somebody asks about direction or the location of certain place. “Where is the cinema?” Normally, as the good person, we give the clear instruction how to go to the place. We can reply “From here, go ahead to the travick light, after that, turn left and you will see the cinema at the left side”. This is an appropriate answer that fulfills the Maxim of Quantity. However, we also meet a person who replies with this answer “Not far”, or “near the post office”. In fact, it is true that the cinema is not far or near the post office, but the information is not enough for somebody who need to find the cinema without a map. To sum it up, we can say that the answer “not far” or “near the post office” is breaking the Maxim of Quantity.
- Maxim of Quality.
In this maxim, the hearer should fulfill two requirements in order to make an appropriate language. In this rule, we should not say what we believe to be false, and also do not say that for which we lack adequate evidence.
For example, this maxim can be seen at the moment when somebody is lying. Most of Jakarta citizens has known that Ragunan zoo is located in south of Jakarta. However, to make a fun, someone trick his friend who come from village by saying that Ragunan zoo is located in west of Jakarta. Indeed, it breaks the Maxim of Quality by saying untrue statement. Moreover, we also can see the deviation to Maxim of Quality when somebody answers a question exaggeratedly. He lies to add moor effect to his answer. Let’s see the following conversation.
A: “have you gone to Borobudur temple?”
B: “yes, I’ve visited it for a thousand times”.
On that example, definitely we see that the hearer is lying. It is impossible for a tourist for visit a place a thousand times. However, his reason for answering the question like that is to add more impression that he really love that place.
- Maxim of Relevance.
In this maxim, we are supposed to answer something relevantly. Between the question and the answer must have a clear link. To follow this maxim, we must make our contribution relevant to the interaction,and indicate any way that it is not connected.
In this case, people often answer one’s question with the unrelevant one. This action is not because of the hearer doesn’t understand to the question, but it must be a certain amin inside. Let’s see the following example.
“Do you know where is my shoes?”
On that example, we can see obviously the deviation of maxim of relevance. The answer is definitely not relevant with the question. Normally, the answer can be “in the garage”, or “I don’t know”. However, one of the possibilities of doing such thing is because the hearer doesn’t want to help A to finding his shoes.
- Maxim of Manner.
In order to follow this maxim, we should pay attention to several points:
a. Avoid obscurity of expression.
b. Avoid ambiguity.
c. Be brief (avoid unnecessary wordiness).
d. Be orderly.
The breaking of this kind of maxim is usually aimed to hidden the real reason. Someone uses this technique to avoit the tottaly lying. As long the hearer doesn’t realize to the truth, it is still fine. Let’s see the following example:
A: “Where is your college?”
B: “my college is in Depok”
A: “oh, in Universitas Indonesia?”
B: yeah, my college is in Depok”.
From that example, we can see the hearer reply the question with an ambiguous answer. He tells the fact that his college is in Depok, but it is not specifically. As we know, the college in Depok not only Universitas Indonesia, there are also Gunadharma and BSI. However, the hearer uses this technique to hidden the fact that his college is not in Universitas Indonesia.
Dimas adalah seorang blogger, penulis, dan motivator tunanetra kelahiran kota Jakarta yang bertepatan dengan perayaan Hari Pramuka tahun 1988. Lulusan program S1 Sastra Inggris, Fakultas Ilmu Pengetahuan Budaya, Universitas Indonesia ini berkarir sebagai seorang PNS Peneliti di Pusat Riset Pendidikan, Badan Riset dan Inovasi Nasional (BRIN). Saat ini Dimas sedang menyelesaikan kuliah Master of Education di The University of Adelaide, Australia.