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3 Macropragmatics
Speech act theory The cooperative principle The politeness principle

6.3.1 Speech act theory

Speech act theory was proposed by J. L. Austin and has been developed by J. R. Searle. They believe that language is not only used to inform or to describe things, it is often used to do things, to perform acts. Ex. (1) Youre fired. Actions performed via utterances are generally called speech acts, the uttering of the relevant words is the action itself; without the utterance the action is not done. These are called performative sentences and the verbs used are called performative verbs (Vp): I (Vp) you that

Sufficient conditions for performative verbs

A. the singular form of the first person B. present tense C. declarative sentences D. the active voice Illocutionary acts

a. locutionary act

Austin suggests three kinds of acts b. illocutionary act c. perlocutinary act

The speech act theory

a. Locutionary act: the act of saying, the literal meaning f the utterance b. illocutionary act: the extra meaning of the utterance produced on the basis of its literal meaning c. perlocutionary act: the effect of the utterance on the hearer, depending on specific circumstances.

(1) Its stuffy in here.

The locutionary act is the saying of it with its literal meaning There isnt enough fresh air in here. The illocutionary act can be a request of the hearer to open the window. The perlocutinary act can be the hearers opening the window or his refusal to do so. In fact, we might utter (1) to make a statement, a request, an explanation, or for some other communicative purposes. This is also generally known as the illocutionary force of the utterance.

Felicity conditions :
Circumstances under which it would be appropriate to interpret something as a particular type of speech act.

Felicity conditions

1. General conditions 2. Content conditions 3. Preparatory conditions 4. Sincerity condition 5. Essential condition

(2) a. Husband: Thats the phone. b. Wife: Im in the bathroom. c. Husband: Okay.
Its illocutionary acts are: (i) a refusal to comply with the request (ii) a request to her husband to answer the phone instead. Classification of illocutionary acts

1. Representatives 2. Directives () Searle suggests five basic categories of illocutionary acts: 3. Commissives 4. Expressives 5. Declarations

Classification of illocutionary acts by Searle Indirect speech acts

A different approach to distinguishing types of speech acts can be made on the basis of structure. A simple structural distinction between three general types of speech acts is provided, in English, by the three basic sentences types. As shown in (1), there is an easily recognized relationship between the three structural forms (declarative, interrogative, imperative) and the three general communicative functions (statement, question, command/request). (1) a. declarative: You wear a seat belt. (statement) b. interrogative: Do you wear a seat belt? (question) c. imperative: Wear a seat belt! (command/request)

(2) a. Its cold outside. b. I hereby tell you about the weather. c. I hereby request of you that you close the door.

Whenever there is a direct relationship between a structure and a function, we have a direct speech act. For example, a declarative used to make a statement is a direct speech act, but a declarative used to make a request is an indirect speech act. As illustrated in (2), the utterance in (2a) is a declarative. When it is used to make a statement, as paraphrased in (2b), it is functioning as a direct speech act. When it is used to make a command/request, as paraphrased in (2c), it is functioning as an indirect speech act.

Requests are often performed indirectly. Their indirectness has certain characteristics that tend to group requests into the following types

I. Define the following terms briefly: Speech act theory II. Someone stands between you and the TV set you were watching, so you decide to say one of the following. Identify which would be direct and which would be indirect speech acts. (1) Move! (2) Youre in the way. (3) Could you sit down? (4) I cant see anything. (5) Please get out of the way.

(3) a. Could you pass me the salt, please? b. Would you open this for me?
One of the most common types of indirect speech act in English, as shown in (3) has the form of an interrogative, but is not typically used to ask questions, that is , we do not expect an answer, but we expect action.