Conversational Implicature, Humour Theory and the Emergence of Humour: A Pragmatic Analysis of Udurawana’s Stories in Sri Lanka

Upul Priyantha Gamage, Patrick Sadi Makangila


‘Humour’ in the stories has been investigated in many ways while the prominence of the studies has been captured by the pragmatic analyses. The emergence of humour through language is an interesting conversational implicature that has attracted the academic interest in the recent past. This phenomenon is closely looked at using randomly selected ten stories of Udurawana in this article by applying the Grice’s theory of Conversational Implicature (CI) and the Conventional Theory of Humour in order to examine the ways of generating humour in the context of Grice’s theory by revealing the types of maxims flouted in the selected sample. The study concludes that the maxim mostly flouted in these joke stories is quality and sometimes two or three maxims flouted in a single-story on the surface level but at the deep level quality is the only maxim flouted in all stories under consideration while no evidence found to prove any violation of maxims. The previous conclusions made by the researchers in terms of maxim flouting and violation in the jokes are also not so certain in comparing with the findings of the present study. The study has found out that the humour aspect of almost all the stories under consideration is incongruity while all the stories have associated the particularized conversational implicature to produce the humour aspects. The study has further established that the Udurawana’s humour stories as intended humour stories in which the humour emerges by flouting maxims but not by violating maxims as previous researchers have concluded.


Conversational Implicature, Maxim, Flouting, Humour, Udurawana

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