A Pragmatic Analysis of Conversational Implicatures in English Drama and their Role in Teaching Critical Literacy




Conversational Implicatures, Drama, Critical Literacy, Pragmatic Analysis


This study aims to explore the role of conversational implicatures in English drama in developing students’ critical literacy. It identified conversational implicatures conveyed by characters of the selected drama texts, provided possible interpretations of the implicatures basing on Grice’s Cooperative Principle maxims, and critically analyzed the role of conversational implicatures in English drama in developing students’ critical literacy. The data were collected from the implicatures conveyed by the characters of two selected drama texts. These are ‘Family Abuse’ by Bernard Mersier and ‘The Edge’ by Paul Symonloe. Grice’s pragmatic theory of Cooperative Principle and its maxims were used to identify and interpret conversational implicatures in the selected drama texts. Forty-two (42) conversational implicatures were identified from these texts. These implicatures were categorized into types basing on the four conversational maxims, and each conversational implicature was taken as data. Using Grice’s interpretive model and the social context of the drama, what the characters implied by their utterances were explained together with the reasons for the implicatures. The Luke and Freebody’s four resources model of critical literacy was then used to study the role of conversational implicatures in English drama in developing students’ critical literacy. The study concluded that conversational implicatures in English drama develop students’ critical literacy by enabling them to study a drama text from a social angle and evaluate the social aspects that may have influenced the meaning of the characters ‘utterances. Therefore, it was suggested that drama texts should be used in language teaching and learning as they ease the teaching of conversational implicatures which can foster the development of students’ critical literacy.


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How to Cite

Nkurunziza, B., Ngoboka, J. P., & Habyarimana, H. (2024). A Pragmatic Analysis of Conversational Implicatures in English Drama and their Role in Teaching Critical Literacy. African Journal of Empirical Research, 5(3), 34–46. https://doi.org/10.51867/ajernet.5.3.4