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This paper investigates the status of Grice’s (1975) conversational maxims of cooperation in Jordanian socio-political newspapers interviews. It also discusses the fundamental norms and conventions that shape conduct in these kinds of interviews and recurrent practices through which journalists balance competing professional demands for both objective and an adversarial treatment of public figures in the present case two former Jordanian Prime Ministers (PMs). The paper also explores how, in the face of aggressive questioning, the PMs struggle to stay “on message”, so to speak, and pursue their own agenda. Through a pragma-linguistic analysis of these interviews, the study reveals that the reasons behind the MPs’ flouting of Grice’s conversational maxims, and, consequently, the ensuing conversational implicatures, are products of one of the following:

1. Absolute loyalty

2. Lack of democratic freedom of expression.

The paper also reveals that Grice’s principle of conversation and its accompanying maxims have a crosscultural validity when tested against a language like Arabic. In fact, when we look at these conversational maxims from an Arab-Islamic moral and socio-political perspective (and whether the maxims are Grice’s or those of Arab-Islamic scholars) we find that they are, almost identical and constitute the corner stone of Arab society’s moral, socio-cultural, and religious values. Thus, it makes a lot of difference for both audience and readership if interviewed public figures ‘observe’ these conversational maxims.



Conversational Maxims Newspapers Interview pragma-linguistic analysis

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