研究脱口秀中的会话含义理论The Theory of Conversational Implicature in Wong's Talk Show
Abstract: talk show is used to describe that one is eloquent, and his utterance is so uncommon that he could win applause from the crowd. In the West, talk show is a kind of program, and it also could be a hosting style. The corpus of this article is a 15-minute talk show performances of the Chinese Americans Jeo Wong at the annual meeting in the United States in March 2010, and the American President and the media representatives throughout the country attend this meeting. This article aims to use the cooperative principle and the maxims to analyze the characteristics of his talk show discourse, and to make people have a better understanding of his talk show performances.
Key words: talk show; conversational implicature；cooperative principle；maxim
Talk show accounts for a large proportion in the U.S. television industry. each talk show has its own characteristics and style by using exaggerated expressions gushing words. Jeo Wong's unique talk show performances widely welcomed by Americans. By watching Jeo Wong's performance at this meeting to find out his utterance that violate the cooperative principles and maxim, which could helps us have a better understanding of his performance.
Ⅱ. Theoretical Basis
The Theoretical Basis of this article mainly includes Conversational implicature, cooperative principle, quantity maxim, quality maxim, relation maxim and manner maxim. The specific theoretical explanations are as follows:
2.1 Conversational implicature
Conversational implicature was originally suggested by Herbert Paul Grice, an Oxford philosopher. It was in his William James lectures delivered at Harvard in 1967 that he formally presented his theory to the public. Part of these lectures came out in 1975, entitled Logical and Conversation. A second part appeared in 1978 with the title of Further Notes on Logic and Conversation.
2.2 Cooperative principle
Grice (1975) defines cooperative principle as follows: make your conversational contribution such as is required, at the stage at which it occurs, by the accepted purpose or direction of the talk exchange in which you are engaged (Cole and Morgan, 1975:45 www.dxlwwang.com/thesis/
). There are four maxims under this general principle:
2.3 the four maxims under the coorperative principles
(1) The quantity maxim
a. Make your contribution as informative as required (for the current purpose of the exchange);
b. Do not make your contribution more informative than is required.
(2) The quality maxim
a. Do not say what you believe to be false;
b. Do not say that for which you lack adequate evidence.
(3) The relation maxim
(4)The manner maxim
a. Avoid obscurity of expression;
b. Avoid ambiguity;
c. Be brief (avoid unnecessary prolixity);
d. Be orderly.
By using these theories, this paper focuses on how he violates the cooperative principles and maxims to make those wise people cheering him on from four maxims aspects.
Ⅲ. Data Analysis
Wong performances with the most simple words, a deliberate violation of the four maxims, the stiff expressions and stiff action, talk about the kind of cold humor that need to understand by thinking. Meanwhile, most of his utterance have culture background. For instance:
3.1 Violating the quantity maxim
There are two submaxims under the quantity maxim: Make your contribution as informative as required (for the current purpose of the exchange); Do not make your contribution more informative than is required. By deliberately violating the quantity maxim, one could makes his contribution more or lessinformative as is required to catch others attention. Here is one example:
(1) You may be saying, hi, what would be your campaign slogan?
You see, I spent 10 years in the past decade.
Oh, you too? OK. So, I understand that American people are suffering.
So, my campaign slogan will be, "Who cares?" (Hu Cares)
In this case, he violates the quantity maxim. One question was asked "what would be your campaign slogan?", your means Wong's. And then, he talked about the reason how his campaign come into being. At last, he told the audience his answer. So his contribution was more informative than is required; he violates the quantity maxim. But before answered the question, his utterance could capture people's attention and make them look at his following talk show with curiosity.
In a talk show, it is very important for performers to catch audiences' attention. By the analysis of Jeo Wong's talk show, we could find one could easily attracting eyeballs by violating the quantity maxim.
3.2 Violating the quality maxim
There are two submaxims under the quantity maxim: Do not say what you believe to be false; Do not say that for which you lack adequate evidence. In a talk show, by saying something false or lack of adequate evidence could easily activate atmosphere. For example:
(2) (Joe Wong is a Chinese American comedian. This is the first utterance of his talk show of this meeting)
（开场）Wong: I am Irish.
In the case, he overly violates quality maxim. From his appearance, it is obvious for the audiences to know that Joe Wong is of the yellow race. He also must know he is a Chinese American. However, he said he is Irish. It is false. Therefore, Wong deliberately violates quality maxim. As soon as he started his talk show, he said this sentence, and he made all audiences laugh, it creates an relaxing atmosphere at the beginning of the meeting.
In this part, this article give a further analysis of how he activate atmosphere successfully by violating the quality maxim at the beginning of the talk show.
3.3 Violating the relation maxim
There is a submaxim under the quantity maxim: be relevant. By saying something irrelevant to the theme, one could easily express an irony. Such as:
(3) Wong: I read in the Men's Health magazine that president Obama every week has two cardio days and 4 weight lifting days. You see, I don't have to exercise because I have health insurance.
In this case, he violates relation maxim. At first, he said he had read the president Obama has exercise several times every week. To the contrary, he does not do exercise. He said the reason is that he has health insurance. But we know, health insurance could not make people do exercise and keep health. So his utterance is irrelevant to the question. he violates relation maxim.What the health insurance could provide is people's medical fees will likely be reimbursed by state health insurance. In truth, what he want to said is that health insurance may give people a kind of lazy consciousness. It is an irony.
(4) (His dad is a farmer with little education in the old time of China.)
My dad was a grumpy guy, but occasionally he would tried to cheer me up with jokes. But he doesn't do it right. When I was seven, one day he said to me, "Hi, son, why is tofu better than centralized socialist economy?"
In the case, it violates the relation maxim. In this questions, his father compared tofu with centralized socialist economy. Tofu is a kind of food, while centralized socialist economy is a kind of economical system. They are not comparable, in other words, they are not relevant with each other. So it violates the relation maxim. And for his father, tofu is better than centralized socialist economy. because tofu could be eaten, but centralized socialist economy could not. So it is also an irony of the ignorance of people in the old time of China.In this part, there are two examples to analyze how he express an irony by violating the relation maxim. He combined some irrelevant objects to express an irony. It could be much better than use some similar objects.
3.4 Violating the manner maxim
There are four submaxims under the quantity maxim: Avoid obscurity of expression; Avoid ambiguity; Be brief (avoid unnecessary prolixity); Be orderly. In a talk show performance, performer could also make people laugh by violating the manner maxim. For example:
(5) (Because of the different pronunciation way, Jeo Wong's name was called as Hu by American )
So, my campaign slogan will be, "Who cares?" (Hu Cares)
In this case, he violates the manner maxims. In the talk show, the audiences could only heard what he said. According to the pronunciation, we do not know it is "Who cares?" or "Hu Cares". Because "who" and "hu" are homophonic words. There was an ambiguity, so he violates the manner maxims. Different understandings have different meanings. "Who cares" means "who care about you"; "Hu Cares" means "I care about you", the audiences could easily have fun from this sentence.
In this part, there is a analysis of how he make people laugh during the talk show by violating the relation maxim. He uses an ambiguity rather than simple state. As a result, it makes audiences enjoy themselves.
This paper focuses on the analysis of Wong's talk show at this meeting by using the cooperative principles, displaying how he controls the performance by applying the Gricean conversational implicature theory and violating the maxim. And it makes us better understand about his talk show. In addition, we could find the different cultural background is also very important. Because of my limited knowledge level, this article inevitably exist some shortage. Welcome to give me some suggestions.