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Speech Acts

Group Member
Asad Raza
Humna Amjad
Project: Illocutionary Speech Act
Class: Pragmatics
Semester: 7th
Speech Act Theory

When someone expresses something, he does not only produce utterances containing

grammatical structures and words, but he also performs an action through the utterances.

Action performed by an utterance called speech acts.

Example: You’re fired!

This utterance can be used by us as an action to fire someone from his current job

John Ausntin Statement

He further distinguished three acts in one single speech act or event we perform.

I. Illocutionary Act

II. Locutionary Act

III. Perlocutionary Act

Illocutionary Act

Illocutionary acts are the real actions which are performed by the utterance we form an utterance

with function in mind. This communicative force of an utterance is known as illocutionary force.

(Intention/desire of the speaker) Searle divides illocutionary acts into five basic types

a) Directive

b) Commissive

c) Representative/Assertive

d) Declarative
e) Expressive


It is conversation between 1st and 2nd person here the speaker tries to make the hearer do

something, with such words as: ask, order, command, request, beg, plead, pray, entreat, invite,

permit, advise, demand etc.

Ex: Give me your pen.

Leave the town immediately.


Here the speaker commits himself or herself to the future course of action, with verbs such as:

guarantee, promise, swear, refuse, threating etc.

Ex: I will repay the money.

I swear to tell the truth.


Here the speaker asserts a proposition to be true, using such verbs as: affirm, believe, conclude,

deny, report, state. etc

Ex: The earth is round.

I think, he is saying the truth.


Here the speaker alters the external status or condition of an object, situation or context solely by

making the utterance.

Ex: Class dismissed.

You are fired.

We find defendant not guilty.


Here the speaker expresses an attitude to or about a, using such verbs as: thanks, congratulate,

apologize, praise etc.

Ex: I am sorry for being late.

What a great day! Congratulation!


Brunkhorst, H., Kreide, R., & Lafont, C. (Eds.). (2018). The Habermas Handbook. New York:

Columbia University Press.

Hanganu-Bresch, C., & Berkenkotter, C. (2019). Diagnosing Madness: The Discursive

Construction of the Psychiatric Patient, 1850-1920. Columbia, South Carolina: University of

South Carolina Press.