International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Information-based Infringements and Implicit Meanings in Conversations in select Recent Nigerian Novels
Niyi Osunbade, Adeolu Adeniji

Conversation presents the context for one of the most prevalent uses of human language. Scholars have therefore studied conversation in linguistic scholarship with consideration for its structural and functional features (whether in real or literary context) from the stylistic, register analytic, discoursal and pragmatic perspectives. This paper is a departure from the existing pragmatic ones on conversations by applying insights from Gricean Pragmatics to investigate meanings implicitly conveyed in the conversational contexts in which speakers are assumed to be cooperative, but infringe the maxim of quantity in conveying their informative intentions in the purposively selected recent Nigerian novels, Purple Hibiscus (PH) and Half of a Yellow Sun (HYS), written by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie. The findings reveal two types of information-based infringements in characters’ conversational contributions spurred by flouting the maxim of quantity. These are less-information-spurred implicit meaning such as the themes of subjugation, self-centredness, resistance against religious imposition found in PH and more-information-spurred implicit meaning such as the themes of tribalism and inhumanity found in HYS. The study concludes that this inferential pragmatics’ approach to fictional conversations enhances a better understanding of how implicit meanings of conversational discourse can be generated in the contexts of information-based maxim in the texts, to aid the interpretation and understanding of the author’s messages to the readers.

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