There is a gap between the literal meaning of a sentence and the speaker’s meaning or intervention in an utterance. When studying conversation, other factors other than the literal meaning of the words and the meanings that come up from their combinations also determine meaning. These other factors are what is called context.
Communication involves a sender and receiver and the sender usually has an intention to cause the hearer to do something or understand something by getting him/her understood that the sender is trying to cause that thought or action.
Therefore, communicative intention and the interpretation of utterance include all aspects of inferences and implicatures. This paper H.P Grice’s theory on communication and its development to the relevance theory, concentrating on the CP and the Maxims.
Grice’s Pragmatic Theory
Sperber and Wilson (2002) state that Grice developed a model of communication (the inferential model) as an alternative to the code model of communications. This, they (Sperber and Wilson) further developed to a better model called the relevance model (relevance theory of communication, filling in the loophole found in Grice’s account.
In his theory, communication is purposeful and it is a cooperative activity whereby interlocutors follow a certain rule of cooperation supported by Maxims.
“Each conversation has an accepted purpose/direction which participants jointly work towards…”
According to Grice, a conversation is compared with people baking,