Violations of Grice’s conversational conventions as humour in Irish and American television comedies
Keywords:The Simpsons, Father Ted, conversational coherence, Grice's conventions
Scripts of two popular television shows, the American show ‘The Simpsons’ and the Irish show ‘Father Ted,’ were assessed in the context of Grice’s (1975) conventions of conversational coherence. Episodes with similar subject matter were compared. Grice’s conventions are appropriate parameters for comparison given that much humour is based on conversational misunderstandings. Chi-squared tests revealed significant differences between the two shows in violations of the conventions of ‘Matter’ and ‘Relation’, but no differences in violations categorized as ‘Quality’ or ‘Other’. Specifically, the Irish show contained more violations of the convention of Quality than did the American show, whereas the opposite was true with regard to the convention of Manner. Implications of such analyses of contrived humour for the understanding of language comprehension are discussed.
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