The cooperative principle and humor
As mentioned in the first chapter, the co-operative principle is based on four conversational maxims: Maxim of Quantity, Maxim of Quality, Maxim of Relation and Maxim of Manner. These must be obeyed by both the speaker and the hearer in order to make the communication smooth and effective. Sometimes however, not all the maxims are being observed. Non observance of the maxims may result in humorous effect. According to Attardo, jokes often involve violations of maxims (Attardo 1994: 271). If all maxims are used correctly, no additional level of meaning will be added to the conversation. (Thomas 1995: 64).
2.2.1. Non observance of the cooperative principle maxims
There are five ways in which people may fail to observe a maxim. (Thomas 1995:64)
Flouting a maxim occurs when a participant ignores a maxim and uses a conversational implicature which results in additional meaning. By flouting one of the maxims, the speaker wants the hearer to look for another meaning. (Thomas 1995:65)
Adam: So? How do you like my new house? Bob: Well, it’s got a nice roof