Someone can violate the Gricean maxims to avoid an uncomfortable conversation at Thanksgiving dinner.
Guest A may mention their support for an unpopular candidate in the next election.
Guest B will try to steer the conversation away from politics by refusing to provide information about who they intend to vote for, intentionally flouting the Maxim of Quantity. By not supplying this information, the message is sent that Guest B does not want to talk about the election.
Another way is to change the subject, asking who cooked a certain dish and complimenting them on it, violating the Relevance maxim. This signals that Guest B would rather talk about something else.
In these ways, Guest B shows that they are unwilling to ‘cooperate’ in further conversation on the topic, because the expected responses are intentionally withheld.
During thanksgiving dinners, there are controversial topics that many family members would like to avoid, but there is always someone who has to bring them up (Guest A). Guest A brings up the topic of Abortion and their thoughts on it, which starts to make the rest of the family uncomfortable. Guest B then completely changes the subject and responds the Guest A by bringing up whos going to be hosting Christmas this year. When Guest B changes the subject it violates Grices maxim of relevance because they aren’t continuing the subject of abortion, but completely switching the topic.
At the thanksgiving dinner table, there is a possibility that a family member or guest of the family can bring up a controversial topic that makes everyone uncomfortable or that family members do not like to give their opinion for many reasons. Given in a situation where in the thanksgiving dinner person A brings the controversial topic about racism that makes everyone uncomfortable. Guest (b)can use Grice maxims in order to change the topic by stating something that everyone at the dinner table can contribute or relate to for example discussing how they feel about the school’s covid restrictions and vaccinations in order to change the topic and ignore the topic of racism. The relevance/ relation of the unwelcomed contribution is what brings the Grice maxims into play since it breaks the relation/ relevance of the dinner topic.
At most family dinners it is common for someone to bring up a topic that not everyone shares the same opinions on. Guest (A) brings up a controversial topic, one that if someone responded could cause an issue or doesn’t want to get involved in the conversation at hand. For example, Guest (A) may be bringing up politics at the table, which is notably a touchy subject for some. Guest (B) can intentionally disobey a maxim as long as he or she provides enough context indicators for the hearer to notice. This is called flouting a maxim and is used to indirectly express information. The maxim that Guest (B) violates is the maxim of relation. Guest (B) could say “The stuffing is great!”By saying something like such, it allows us to avoid confrontation directly and imply something (such as getting off topic) without having to keep going at a potentially argumentative conversation.
At the Thanksgiving table, it’s possible and often is the case that family members may bring up things that may be controversial or uncomfortable for people around the table. It’s a good thing Aunt Betty made the Thanksgiving staple, corn sandwiches. These delicious sandwiches will be your way out to this kind of situation.
If person (A) says something uncomfortable, Person (B) may respond with something like,
“Aunt Betty. These corn sandwiches are fantastic! Did you do something differently to them?”
This automatically changes the conversation and violates Grice’s maxim of relevance. This maxim states that a response must be relevant to carry a conversation and by being irrelevant and talking about the corn sandwiches rather than engaging in the controversial topic, you are violating this rule and getting it across to person (A) that you would rather not talk about whatever they brought up.
So at thanksgiving diner a lot of possible topics are being brought up that everyone is trying to avoid. Person A might be the one bringing everything up. Person B’s response to person A can simply be “Here we go again” meaning that this person always does this every time by bringing up topics they clearly don’t want to talk about. This violates the quality, quantity, and relevance part of the mixims. It is not contributing any truth nor false information. Though it is short and not giving too much info it is not correlating to what was said by answering the question person A would have asked. And relevance as it does not exactly relate to what was asked by person A it was just an input. I do think it follows the be brief part of the manner maxims though. Because you can get any more subtle and brief than a sarcastic under the breath comment. While an example of what A could possibly say could be along the lines of “How is work/school going?” or “Have you gotten vaccinated yet?”. Just some examples that would make sense for person B to respond the way they did.
There’s always that one person (Guest A) who feels the need to bring up a controversial topic every year at Thanksgiving dinner. Most of the times nobody really addresses it because they either don’t want to offend the person, they don’t want to make the situation worse, they simply just don’t want to get involved, etc. But, if another person (Guest B) wanted to interfere and attempt to indirectly change the topic, they might violate one (or some) of Grice’s maxims of conversation. Guest B may violate the maxim of relation by saying something like, “Oh wow, this Turkey is really good- you made this yourself?!” to the chef, seeing as how the food that was served is in no way related to the topic at hand. Guest B may also simultaneously violate the maxim’s of quality and relation by saying something like “I could really go for a dip in the pool! Would anybody care to join me?”. Considering the time of year, most people have closed their pools because of how cold it is- so I doubt that anyone would be going for a dip in their pool after Thanksgiving dinner. This would also violate the maxim of relation because it would have nothing to do with the topic that was brought up, comment that was made, etc. By making statements or asking questions which violate any/all of Grice’s maxims of conversation, Guest B would be indirectly making Guest A aware that the conversation is making them uncomfortable and that it is unwanted. This would (hopefully) lead Guest A to drop it and move on to another conversation, without having to be explicitly told.
At Thanksgiving dinner, we all prepare ourselves for the one family member to mention something we don’t want to hear about, “How’s that boyfriend of yours” We broke up. “Have you lost weight?!” No, I actually gained some. “How do you feel about this president?” I don’t care I’m not into politics. Amongst all the weird and controversial questions or statements that could be asked and said, a way person (B) could respond to person (A) could be by starting an argument, which no one wants to do on Thanksgiving, or could be to change the subject. For example, this year I’m sure there were many debates, questions, and statements regarding the COVID vaccine. No matter what someone’s opinion is on the vaccine or the topic in general, it could definitely stir up some unwelcoming and uncomfortable conversation. Person (A) is the only vaccinated person sitting at a table of people who do not believe in the vaccine because of religious reasons, “So is everyone going to get vaccinated soon?” Person (B) who isn’t really that religious but lives in a religious household and knows how their parents would react to the question, “Wow this stuffing is amazing!!” Can you pass the corn?” This conversation goes against Grice Maxim’s principles because it violates Relevance. Stuffing and corn have nothing to do with the vaccine, but it was the person’s response to the question to avoid any arguments that made happen. The response of person (B) also goes against Quantity because person (B)’s response did not include an informative contribution, they didn’t even answer the question at all.
While at Thanksgiving dinner if person A were to bring up a controversial topic, person B might violate Grice’s maxim of quantity to indirectly get the message across to person A that his or her contribution is not welcome. Person B might simply say something like “Anywho…” and go on to change the subject entirely. This would violate Grice’s maxim of quantity because by leaving out the detailed information that would explain that person A’s contribution is not welcome, and why it’s not welcome (such as it’s either inappropriate or your views are different,)person B is saying “anywho…” to get the message across that he/she is intentionally changing the topic of conversation.