The Occurrence of Humor Due To Non-Observance of The Gricean Maxims in 'Roommates'.

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Dalam tugas akhir ini, saya membahas tentang pelanggaran bidal dalam situasi tutur serial televisi Roommates.

Dalam menganalisis data, saya menggunakan teori bidal H. P.Grice dalam buku Jenny Thomas dan teori Raskin yang terdapat dalam buku Guy Cook. Tugas akhir ini berfokus pada pelanggaran bidal dalam beberapa adegan serial televisi Roommates. Aspek linguistik yang digunakan berfokus pada Pragmatik. Saya juga

menggunakan teori humor yang diperkenalkan oleh Jerry Suls, guna mengetahui cara penonton mengapresiasi humor dalam serial televisi ini.



Maranatha Christian University Salah satu temuan yang diperoleh dari serial televisi ini adalah banyaknya pelanggaran bidal kualitas. Ini disebabkan oleh ketidaksanggupan para tokoh untuk berkata jujur dalam situasi sulit yang mereka hadapi. Selain itu, adanya ketidaksukaan tokoh dengan tokoh yang lain sehingga berusaha menjatuhkan tokoh tersebut dengan tuturan yang menyindir. Melalui banyaknya pelanggaran bidal kualitas yang para tokoh lakukan inilah timbul efek lucu dan humor dalam serial televisi ini.



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1.1 Background of the Study ... 1

1.2 Statement of the Problem ... 4

1.3 Purpose of the Study ... 4

1.4 Method of Research ... 4

1.5 Organization of the Thesis ... 5


2.1 Pragmatics ... 6

2.3 Observance the Gricean Maxims ... 8

2.4 Non-observance of the Gricean Maxims ... 9

2.4.1 Flouting a maxim ... 9 Flouting a maxim of quantity ... 9 Flouting a maxim of quality ... 10 Flouting a maxim of relation ... 11 Flouting a maxim of manner ... 12

2.4.2 Violating a maxim ... 12

2.4.3 Infringing a maxim ... 13

2.4.4 Opting out a maxim ... 14

2.4.5 Suspending a maxim ... 14

2.5 Theory of Humor ... 15

2.5.1 Incongruity Script ... 16

2.5.2 Superiority ... 17








GRICEAN MAXIMS 1. Mark: “So, Hope what

are you working on at

the moment?”

- Flouting maxim of manner

- Flouting maxim of quality

2. Hope: “It’s a show about a girl who meets a boy, and never sees that boy

again and doesn’t

live with him

because he’s a

baby who wants tea. It is called


- Flouting maxim of quality


41 9. Mark: “When I was seven, my

hamster crawled up my pants and bite on my tenders.”

- Flouting maxim of relation



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1.1. Background of the Study

As human beings, it is natural that people have social interactions with others. One of the ways to interact is through conversations which involve a speaker and a hearer.

When engaging in a conversation, the speaker and the hearer have to be cooperative. The speaker has to deliver what he or she wants to say explicitly so that the hearer can catch the intention of the speaker’s utterance.

However, in some cases, the speaker does not say what he or she is supposed to say. They do not directly convey their intention of speaking. Consequently, this can cause misunderstanding between the speaker and the hearer. The effects of that occurrence may vary. One of them is humor. It is stated that “The humor sometimes occurs because of the misunderstanding that happens



Maranatha Christian University Based on Cambridge Dictionary, humor is “the ability to find things funny, the way in which people see that some things are funny or the quality of being

funny” (“Humor”). Based on that definition, an utterance is not categorized as a

humor if people fail to see that thing as funny. This condition, however, can occur because either the utterance itself is not funny or the target of the humor cannot figure out the funny part of it. The latter depends on the target’s perspective. It does not necessarily mean that the humor itself has a bad quality. And in fact, this happens more frequently, especially when it is related to misunderstanding in a conversation because it is not that easy to grasp the humor.

In relation to the theories used in this thesis, there is an area of linguistics that concerns the speaker’s utterance and the interpretation of the utterance. It is called pragmatics. According to George Yule, “Pragmatics is concerned with the study of meaning as communicated by the speaker and interpreted by the listener.” (Yule 3). Therefore, pragmatics deals with implicature. If there is an implicature

in the speaker’s utterance, the hearer should understand the implicature so that it

will not cause any misunderstanding. To avoid potential misunderstandings, Grice, an English language philosopher, has established the Cooperative Principle which has the purpose of making the participants’ contribution in a conversation as is required and the situation needed for the interlocutor. However, this principle can only be implemented on the condition that the participants of the conversation observe the maxims, the rules of speaking, which are the maxims of quantity, quality, relevance, and manner.



Maranatha Christian University There are various ways of non-observance of the Gricean maxims which are flouting, violating, infringing, opting out, and suspending the maxim.

In conducting my analysis, the source of the data that I choose is Roommates comedy TV series. This sitcom was released in 2009. Basically, it is

about four young adults: two men, named Mark and James, and two women, named Hope and Katie. Hope, Katie, and James are friends and they share an apartment. Later, Mark, who is Katie’s friend, moves into Katie’s apartment because he falls in love with Katie and wants to be closer to her. It is normal that there are so many funny things that happen as they live together. The funny things are usually due to the conversation between the characters which does not run well so that this condition may result in humor.

I choose this source because it is a comedy in which the audience finds humor in the characters’ speech. In certain scenes of Roommates, the condition is set by the director so that we, as the audience, will laugh because of the

characters’ utterances. For example, Mark and James are witty characters who like

making jokes. Their conversations do not run smoothly. Most of the remarks indicate that they fail to observe the maxims when they have some other intentions behind their utterances. Therefore, I decide to write a thesis entitled The Occurrence of Humors Due to Non-observance of the Gricean Maxims in

Roommates in order to show the funny parts in a speech event, especially to

people who find it hard to understand so that they finally can be amused.



Maranatha Christian University maxims and to know what makes it funny in terms of non-observance of the Gricean maxims. It is also significant for people in general as they will understand how to grasp the humor through non-observance of the Gricean maxims.

Word count: 794

1.2. Statement of the Problem

Based on the topic, I will analyze these three problems:

1. What type of non-observance of maxims is there in each of the characters’ utterances analyzed?

2. What is the implicature within each utterance?

3. How does the non-observance of the Gricean maxims lead to humor?

1.3. Purpose of the Study

By analyzing those problems in this thesis, I want to show

1. the type of non-observance occurring in each of the characters’ utterances analyzed.

2. the implicature within each utterance.

3. how the non-observance of the Gricean maxims leads to humor in Roommates comedy TV series.

1.4. Method of Research



Maranatha Christian University comedy TV series. Third, I analyzed the type of the non-observance of the maxim and its implicature in the utterance of the characters. Fourth, I analyzed the way the non-observance of the maxims leads to humor. Finally, I wrote the research report.

1.5. Organization of the Thesis



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From the analysis in Roommates TV series that I have made, I can draw a conclusion which contains of my findings. Firstly, the humor occurs in all conversation by the major characters. As we can see, when the characters do not observe maxims in a conversation, this condition creates a funny atmosphere. After analyzing them, I find that all kinds of non-observance of Gricean maxims emerge in these data.



Maranatha Christian University From data analyzed, flouting the maxim of quality occurs because the characters on the whole say something which is untrue without intention of misleading. This kind of flouting appears in several data, like in data (1), (2), (3), (7), (8), and (9). This occurrence usually happens because the speakers are in the difficult situation in which they have no option to say the truth and wish that people will look for another interpretation. Besides, flouting the maxim of quantity in data (6) emerges because the character on the whole cannot give full information in which she feels embarrassed to tell something. Flouting the maxim of manner that occurs in data (1) and (8) is because the character on the whole has hidden purpose and does not say to the point to others. Whereas, flouting the maxim of relation in data (5) and (9) occurs because the character on the whole gives irrelevant response to others. Therefore, all in all, maxim is flouted in this TV series is when the characters are in a position they cannot say the truth because of difficult situation, feel ashamed to others, have hidden intention, and want to change the topic of discussion.

In addition, violating maxim emerges in two data; data (2) and (3). This happens because the characters on the whole are lying to the others so that he or she cannot tell the truth and the other is misled by him or her. And, suspending maxim in data (6) happens because the character feels ashamed to say the real word based on her gender. The others are opting out maxim that occurs in data (4) because the character refuses to corporate in the conversation and infringing maxim that occurs in data (7) because the character feels nervous to respond

other’s question. Therefore, violation in this TV series happens when the character



Maranatha Christian University embarrassed to other’s question related to the gender. Opting out happens when

the character refuses to answer other’s question due to her inconvenience; and

Infringing happens when there is nervousness to respond other’s question.

Finishing analysis the data that contains of the non-observance Gricean maxims, I, as the audience, find that this non-cooperation happened between the characters in the conversation is as a surprise because I do not expect that the character will utter such utterances that may create something else. In fact, this surprise causes humor effect. So, our surprise is to emphasize how the humor emerges in a speech event. To prove the data analyzed is really humor, I relate the analysis of the non-observance maxim with Incongruity Script and Superiority theory.

In relation to Incongruity Script, it can be concluded that when it comes to satirizing each other, the characters in the film tend to come up with a script superficially. For example: in data (1), (2), and (3) superficially they discuss about the show script. And yet, actually they have different script within. That is, about revealing the secret script. The same thing also occurs in data (9) in which the character superficially comes up with a childhood script but actually the reality script, which is about dating script. What is also interesting to conclude is that the use of words that superficially centers on one script but communicatively different as seen in data (9).



Maranatha Christian University To feel or understand the funny part in the scene would not be easy though by some people who watch film since people may have different sense of humor. Besides, the situation when the audience finds the surprise within the scene can influence it. For this case, people cannot find the incongruity case and the humor’s context is confusing. That is why; the important thing to understand or get the humor is the audience’s background knowledge.

Through this analysis, I also discover that the non-observance of Gricean maxims seems quite difficult to acknowledge by some people. This is because the response is by obscuring the reality.

Actually, the hearer should be aware of the speaker’s utterance so that the hearer can understand the context which is talking about. When a person becomes a hearer, he or she has to understand what a speaker means through the speaker’s utterance even implicitly said. On the other hand, a speaker also has to produce an understandable and clear utterance to the hearer so that they can cooperate well in a conversation. In other words, if the speaker and the hearer are able to do it, they have been cooperative and already observed the maxim.



Maranatha Christian University cannot be cooperative because of some reasons. So, when it happens, the conversation cannot run well as it should be and cause misunderstanding among the speaker and the hearer so that it will create a distance between them and we see this condition and find it funny. Thus, based on the comedy TV series I analyze, to create humorous scenes, it uses the dialogue which shows the failure to understand implicature.

The non-observance maxims can also be found in the normal life, not only in the dialogues in a film. There are many factors that influence the speaker and the hearer to do that. Therefore, it depends on both speaker and hearer whether they want to cooperate or not in a conversation.

For other researchers, I believe that my thesis is still imperfect. But I hope my thesis can be useful as a reference for making a research. The study of the occurrence of humor caused by the non-observance of Gricean maxims in Roommates comedy TV series still can be developed for a better result by

applying it to other comedy TV series to find out whether the result would be somehow similar or not. Furthermore, the other data which come from this film can be analyzed by applying some other theories of humor as well.



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Primary Texts:

Roommates. Dir. Jack Kenny and Andrew D. Weyman. Perf. Dorian Brown,

Tamera Mowry, David Weidoff, and Tyler Francavilla. American Broadcasting Company, 2009. DVD


Cook, Guy. Language Play, Language Learning. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Print

Grice, H.Paul. Logic and Conversation. Berkeley: University of California, 2004. Print

McGhee, Paul E. and Jeffrey H. Goldstein. Handbook of Humor Research. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1983. Print

Mey, Jacob L. Pragmatics: An introduction. Blackwell, 2001. Print

Thomas, Jenny. Meaning in Interaction: An Introduction to Pragmatics. London and New York: Longman Group Limited, 1995. Print



Maranatha Christian University Electronic Publications:

“Humour.” Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Online Dictionary. Cambridge

Advance Learner’s Online, 2008. Web. 11 Apr. 2011

Monro, D. H. “Theories of Humor.” Writing and Reading Across the Curriculum:

349-355. 1988. Web. 7 Sept. 2011

Mooney, Annabelle. “Co-operation, Violation and Making Sense.” Journal of

Pragmatics 33:1601-1623. 2004. Web. 5 Oct. 2011

The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. N.p, 2009. Web. 7 Sept. 2011

Yuyun, Ignasia. “A Speech Acts Analysis of the Misunderstanding in Abbott and




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