Speech act

Speech act from Austin,s point of view is How to do things with words . at first speech acts was concerned with speech later speech act theory can applied to sentences of written discourse. actually , Austin and Searle turned attention from sentences as syntactic units to sentences as utterances in speech situation with specific intention and goals. this speech acts can be seen as the basic units of discourse

there are four categories of speech acts.

1-utterance or locutionary acts.

there are acts of uttering sounds, syllables, words ,phrases and sentences from a language .  From a speech point view , utterance acts are not very interesting acts because an utterance act perse is not communicative. it can’t performed by to per recorder. the main interest of utterance acts derives from the fact that in performing them we perform either illocutionary or per locutionary

2-Illocutionary acts

Illocutionary acts are  what speech act theory has focused on linguists have given these their greatest attention primarily because of the communicative function of these acts. in performing an utterance act, the speaker performs either an illocutionary act, that is, an act performed in uttering something or a perlocutionary act, that is, an act performed by uttering something .

EX→ promising – reporting – threatening – requesting-stating-suggesting- asserting – ordering – asking – telling -proposing .

Characteristics of illocutionary act.

1-successfully performed means uttering the right explicit performative sentence, with the right intentions, and under the right circumstance

EX→ To order you to leave the room at once (said by a teacher to a student)

I promise to buy you a sweet . said by a mother to her kid.

2- our daily talk and interactions with one another are full of statements, suggestions, proposals, greetings. in this point illocutionary acts central to linguistics communication

3-perlocutionary acts such as persuading or intimidating they are a result of or performing after illocutionary acts such as/like stating or threatening.

4-one performs illocutionary acts successfully simply by getting one’s illocutionary intentions recognized.

5-Different illocutionary acts such as asserting, questions can have the same propositional content consider the following example they have the  same propositional content.

A-Hoda hit Noha → statement / question / request/ demand)

b- an utterance even in context, may have more than one illocutionary force. EX→ in a domestic arguments partners may insult, belittle, threaten, all at the same thing.

3-perlocutionary acts are acts  performed by saying something

some typical example are → inspiring / persuading/impressing/deceiving/embarrassing/ misleading/intimidating/ irritating.

Characteristics of perlocutionary acts

1- perlocutionary acts, unlike illocutionary acts, are not performed by uttering performative sentences, such as

I (hereby) convince you that John is a tailor.

2-perlocutionary acts involves the effects of utterance and illocutionary acts on  the thoughts, feelings of the hearer

4-propositional acts:

these acts include the act of referring and that of predicating.

Example . Mary is honest .

“If the speaker makes this assertion, he will be performing the propositional act of referring to Mary ith the name “Mary” and characterizing her with the predicate “is honest”.”hence

“in talking the speaker usually performs more propositional and illocutionary acts than perlocutionary acts; “


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