Adewale Kazeem Ayeloja, Taofeek Olanrewaju Alabi
Conversation is a rule-governed behaviour. So, interlocutors either consciously or unconsciously obey some rules in the process. So, for any conversation to be effective, specific conversational etiquettes must be adhered to. Conversational maxims refer to the four rules which were proposed by H.P. Grice to ensure effective communication. This study, therefore, investigates the ingredients of effective communication in relation to medical practice by examining the extent of compliance with the Gricean conversational maxims by doctors during consultation with patients. The conceptual framework adopted for the study is the Gricean pragmatic concept of conversational maxims. One hundred tape recordings of doctor-patient conversations were made at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria, in 2017. Twenty-five of the interactions were randomly selected for the study. The data were subjected to qualitative analysis. Violations of the conversational maxims of quantity and relation characterize the interactions. This takes tolls on the communication as the doctors either hold back some pieces of important information or deviate from the object of discussion to talk about irrelevances. Effective observance of the conversational maxims will impact positively on doctors’ communication with patients as it will make the patients understand their medical conditions better and also encourage them to be cooperative during clerking and treatment. Therefore, effective observance of the conversational maxims is crucial to engendering effective communication between doctors and patients.
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