Define speech acts and speech events. Describe the structure and nature of a speech act.



Actions performed via utterances are generally called speech actsand, in English, are commonly given more specific labels, such as apology, complaint, compliment, invitation, promise, or request.

A speech act is an action performed via utterance. Traditional sentence types: statement, negation, interrogative. I am grateful to you for your hospitality. You are fired. The report will be ready on Monday. Apology, complaint, compliment, invitation, promise, request, order, threat.

These descriptive terms for different kinds of speech acts apply to the speaker's communicative intention in producing an utter­ance. The speaker normally expects that his communica­tive intention will be recognized by the hearer. Both speaker and hearer are usually helped in this process by the circumstances surrounding the utterance. These circumstances, including other utterances, are called the speech event.

The circumstances in which the utterances are performed (speakers, noise, channel) are a speech events. The tea is cold.

Structure of speech act:

- locution (the linguistic form of the utterance). which is the basic act of utterance, or producing a meaningful lin­guistic expression.

- illocution (communicative force of an utterance). The illocutionary act is performed via the communicative force of an utterance. We might utter to make a statement, an offer, an explanation, or for some other communicative purpose. This is also generally known as the illocutionary forceof the utterance.

- perlocution (the expected response and feedback – the outcome you automatically expect). We do not simply create an utterance with a func­tion without intending it to have an effect. Depending on the circumstances, you utter on the assumption that the hearer will recognize the effect you intended. I will see you later. A promise, a threat, a guess.

A speech event is an activity in which par­ticipants interact via language in some conventional way to arrive at some outcome. It may include an obvious central speech act, such as 'I don't really like this', as in a speech event of 'complain­ing', but it will also include other utterances leading up to and sub­sequently reacting to that central action. In most cases, a 'request' is not made by means of a single speech act suddenly uttered.

Actions performed via utterances are generally called speech actsand, in English, are commonly given more specific labels, such as apology, complaint, compliment, invitation, promise, or request.

A speech act is an action performed via utterance. Traditional sentence types: statement, negation, interrogative. I am grateful to you for your hospitality. You are fired. The report will be ready on Monday. Apology, complaint, compliment, invitation, promise, request, order, threat.

Structure of speech act:

- locution (the linguistic form of the utterance). the basic act of utterance, or producing a meaningful lin­guistic expression.

- illocution (communicative force of an utterance).

- perlocution (the expected response and feedback – the outcome you automatically expect). I will see you later. A promise, a threat, a guess.

One general classification system lists five types of general func­tions performed by speech acts: declarations, representatives, expressives, directives, and commissives.

Declarations are those kinds of speech acts that change the world via their utterance. The speaker has to have a special institutional role, in a specific con­text, in order to perform a declaration appropriately.

a. Priest: I now pronounce you husband and wife. b. Referee: You're out! c. Jury Foreman: We find the defendant guilty. In using a declaration, the speaker changes the world via words.

Representatives are those kinds of speech acts that state what the speaker believes to be the case or not. Statements of fact, assertions, conclusions, and descriptions are all examples of the speaker representing the world as he believes it is. a. The earth is flat. b. Chomsky didn't write about peanuts.

c. It was a warm sunny day. In using a representative, the speaker makes words fit the world (of belief).

Expressives are those kinds of speech acts that state what the speaker feels. They express psychological states and can be state­ments of pleasure, pain, likes, dislikes, joy, or sorrow. They can be caused by something the speaker does or the hearer does, but they are about the speaker's experience.

a.I'm really sorry! b.Congratulations! c.Oh, yes, great! In using an expressive, the speaker makes words fit the world (of feeling).

Directivesare those kinds of speech acts that speakers use to get someone else to do something. They express what the speaker wants. They are commands, orders, requests, suggestions, and, they can be positive or negative. a. Give me a cup of coffee. Make it black. b. Could you lend me a pen, please? c. Don't touch that.

In using a directive, the speaker attempts to make the world fit the words (via the hearer).

Commissivesare those kinds of speech acts that speakers use to commit themselves to some future action. They express what the speaker intends. They are promises, threats, refusals, pledges, and they can be performed by the speaker alone, or by the speaker as a member of a group. a. I'll be back. b. I'm going to get it right next time. c. We will not do that.

In using a commissive, the speaker undertakes to make the world fit the words (via the speaker).

Explain J.Austin’s approach and classification of speech acts. Explain G.Searle’s approach to speech acts and his classification.

John Austin was intrigued by the way that we can use words to do different things. Whether one asserts or merely suggests, promises or indicates an intention, persuades or argues, depends not only on the literal meaning of one's words, but what one intends to do with them, and the institutional and social setting in which the linguistic activity occurs. One thing a speaker might intend to do, and be taken to do, in saying “I'll be there to pick you up at six,” is to promise to pick his listener up at that time. The ability to promise and to intend to promise arguably depends on the existence of a social practice or set of conventions about what a promise is and what constitutes promising. Austin especially emphasized the importance of social fact and conventions in doing things with words, in particular with respect to the class of speech acts known as illocutionary acts.

Classification of speech acts:

Illocutionary force is the core of a speech act.

- verdict (the sentence in the court)

- exersitive (persuation argumentation)

- commisive (promises)

- behabitive (clichés, politeness formulae)

- expositive (observations, informing)

Performative sentence – the utterance corresponding to the aim of the act.

Austin began by distinguishing between what he called ‘constatives’ and ‘performatives.’ A constative is simply saying something true or false. A performative is doing something by speaking; one can get married by saying “I do”. Constatives are true or false, depending on their correspondence with the facts; performatives are actions and, as such, are not true or false, but ‘felicitous’ or ‘infelicitous,’ depending on whether or not they successfully perform the action in question. In particular, performative utterances to be felicitous must invoke an existing convention and be invoked in the right circumstances.

G.Searle’s approach

Classification of speech acts:

- representatives (what speaker believes to be the case. It was a warm sunny day. John is a liar)

- declaratives (change the reality through utterances. I pronounce you man and wife. You’re fired)

- expressives (state the speaker’s feelings, attitudes. express the speaker's attitudes and emotions towards the proposition, e.g. congratulations, excuses and thanks, I’m really sorry. Happy birthday! (statements of pleasure, joy, sorrow)

- directives (instruments to make a partner do something. They are to cause the hearer to take a particular action, e.g. requests, commands and advice. Don’t touch that (commands, orders, suggestions)

- commisives (commitment to a future action. acts that commit a speaker to some future action, e.g. promises and oaths, I’ll be back (promises, threats, pledges – what we intend to do)

Direct/indirect speech acts – relation between the structure of the utterance and its functions.

 

Searle has introduced the notion of an 'indirect speech act', which in his account is meant to be, more particularly, an indirect 'illocutionary' act. Applying a conception of such illocutionary acts according to which they are (roughly) acts of saying something with the intention of communicating with an audience, he describes indirect speech acts as follows: "In indirect speech acts the speaker communicates to the hearer more than he actually says by way of relying on their mutually shared background information, both linguistic and nonlinguistic, together with the general powers of rationality and inference on the part of the hearer." An account of such act, it follows, will require such things as an analysis of mutually shared background information about the conversation, as well as of rationality and linguistic conventions.

In connection with indirect speech acts, Searle introduces the notions of 'primary' and 'secondary' illocutionary acts. The primary illocutionary act is the indirect one, which is not literally performed. The secondary illocutionary act is the direct one, performed in the literal utterance of the sentence. In the example:

1.Speaker X: "We should leave for the show or else we’ll be late." 2. Speaker Y: "I am not ready yet."

Here the primary illocutionary act is Y's rejection of X's suggestion, and the secondary illocutionary act is Y's statement that she is not ready to leave. By dividing the illocutionary act into two subparts, Searle is able to explain that we can understand two meanings from the same utterance all the while knowing which is the correct meaning to respond to.









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