Grice’s Conversational Implicature: A Pragmatics Analysis of Selected Poems of Audre Lorde

Adaoma Igwedibia


A number of works have been done by scholars on the study and interpretation of Audre Lorde’s poetry, especially through the lens of literary and critical analysis. However, Lorde’s poems have not been analyzed pragmatically. A lot may have been written about Lorde’s poetry, but there is absolutely no evidence of a pragmatics study of her work. Lorde is the author of many poems that have been studied in various theoretical dimensions, but none have been done with reference to their pragmatics implications. The problem which this research recognizes, therefore, is that Lorde’s poems, especially the ones under the present study, have not been studied and interpreted using Grice’s theory of Conversational Implicature (Cooperative Principle) which is comprised the four maxims: the maxims of Quantity, Quality, Manner and Relation. This study seeks to discover the extent to which these maxims  could be applied to the reading of the selected poems of Lorde. It also seeks to ascertain the degree to which Lorde’s selected poems violate or adhere to these maxims. The study has found that Audre Lorde in some of her poems, violates the maxims as well as adheres to them both in the same breath.


Conversational Implicature, Pragmatics, Grice, Poems, Maxims, Cooperative Principles, Audre Lorde, context

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