Flouting of Maxims in Jonathan Swift’s Essays


  • Noor Riyadh Neama Alhasnawi Qadisiya University/ College of Education/ English Department
  • Maysa'a Kadhim Hussein Shabeeb Qadisiya University/ College of Education/ English Department


pragmatics, sarcasm, essays, Grice, flouting


The present research proposes a pragmatic study of sarcasm in four essays written by Jonathan Swift. Sarcasm can be pragmatically defined by relating it to Grice's maxims which means that the utterance is flouting one or more of Grice's maxims in order to convey something indirectly. This indicates that the words are being used for something other than their literal meaning. This study is a descriptive qualitative one that uses content analysis as one of the qualitative types. As a result, the researcher examines the transcribed data in as much depth as possible. The analysis in the four essays demonstrates that although sarcasm is a type of irony, there are significant distinctions that establish it as a distinct rhetorical type, including intentionality, reference to prior events, insincerity and the presence of a clear target or victim. Also, the speaker flouts all the maxims in order to make mockery of someone or a particular situation. The conclusion is that all maxims can be flouted to accomplish sarcasm. The research paper contains five sections. The first section provides a pragmatic definition of what sarcasm is. Section two discusses Grice's maxims and how they are considered a model for effective communication by speakers. Section three discusses flouting and types of maxims flouting. Section four presents the methodology of the study. Section five tackles how the extracts from the essays under investigation are flouting the maxims to carry out the indirect meaning. The study ends with section six the conclusion, followed by a list of references consulted..