As Cooperative as Class Allows: The Application of Grice’s Maxims in ITV’s Downton Abbey
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Grice’s Cooperative Principle and the corresponding maxims are at the foundation of pragmatics. They show how language is used in everyday practice and they can be applied to a wide range of studies across various fields. In this thesis, I investigate the application of Grice’s theory to the field of historical fiction in combination with the notion of social class, since this has not received much attention in recent literature. I investigate how Grice’s maxims can help analyse class-based implicatures from the script of two characters from ITV’s Downton Abbey. The analysis shows that Grice’s maxims are useful when analysing class-based implicatures and any inferences that may follow. The findings show that class has the power to influence or even govern one’s language use. This can be made evident in historical fiction, especially those works that are concerned with times in which class and class membership were more notable and value-laden than they are in current times.