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The Universality of Conversational Postulates
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Author: Elinor Ochs Keenan.
Print ISSN: 0047-4045
Language: English
No. of Pages: 8
Dimensions: 297mm x 210mm x 1mm

Item Identification Code (UID#): 567
Shelving Location: Papers & Articles: Linguistics
Estimated Value: £1.00
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The Universality of Conversational Postulates

Language in Society, 5: pp. 67-80.
Cambridge University Press (1976).
Stapled Printout


Grice's analysis of conversational maxims and implicatures is examined in the light of Malagasy language and ways of speaking. A cultural contrast in primary assumptions is described. Gricean analysis retains usefulness but within the perspective of a comparative typology in which locally valid systems may differ strikingly in what is marked and unmarked. An ethnographic base and ethnological comparison are required. The situation somewhat resembles the situation with regard to grammatical categories addressed by Boas (1911) and Sapir (1921).


Conversational postulates, ways of speaking; English (US), Malagasy (Madagascar)


  • Based on fieldwork carried out by the author from June 1969 to September 1970 in the village of Vakinankaratra, Madagascar.
  • A slightly revised version of this paper appeared under the title "The Universality of Conversational Implicatures" in the book "Studies in Language" (pp. 255-269) in 1977.
  • The author is from the University of Southern California.

Condition of Item

Good. Text is extensively marked in fluorescent highlighter and annotated in blue ink.

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