Imperatives as Direct and Indirect Speech Acts

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  • Topic: Speech act, Pragmatics, Illocutionary act
  • Pages : 30 (10903 words )
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  • Published : April 27, 2013
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Yerevan State Linguistic University after V. Brusov


Faculty: LIC
Year: 3rd
Group: tourism 1st
Student: Nare Yeremyan
Supervisor: Gayane Barseghyan

Yerevan 2011

At present it has become quite obvious that a good amount of comprehension must be ascribed not to the rules of language, but to our ability to infer what the speaker’s intentions are in saying what he says. Linguists try to explain this in terms of theories known as pragmatics, which is the study of linguistic acts and the contexts in which they are performed. Basically, I have carried out the present paper based on the works of Searl, Austin, Culicover, Levinson, Yule. It is worth mentioning, that different linguists have different views upon the theme. In general, speech acts are acts of communication. To communicate is to express a certain attitude, and the type of speech act that is performed corresponds to the type of attitude being expressed. For example, a statement expresses a belief, a request expresses a desire, and an apology expresses regret. As an act of communication, a speech act succeeds if the hearer identifies, in accordance with the speaker’s intention, the attitude being expressed. In accordance with the tasks and goals, the present paper consists of introduction, two chapters with their corresponding subchapters, conclusion and bibliography. The first chapter is devoted to the discussion of the three related acts – locutionary, illocutionary, perlocutionary. It is worth mentioning, that the classification of speech acts varies from linguist to linguist. We studied the classification proposed by several linguists and presented in details in the first chapter. Whenever there is a direct relationship, we have a direct speech act. Whenever there is an indirect relationship between a structure and a function, we have an indirect speech act. In the next point of the chapter we mostly refer to the imperatives as direct and indirect speech acts. The main communicative function of imperative sentences is getting someone to do something. As direct speech acts, imperatives express orders, instructions or request. In indirect speech acts the speaker communicates to the hearer more than he actually says by way of relying on their mutual shared background information, together with the general powers of rationality and inference on the part of the hearer. Imperatives can function as indirect speech acts performing advice, offer, suggestion, invitation, gratitude, warning, threat, resentment, persuasion, prohibition. These also we’ll observe in the following paper. The second chapter we devoted to expressive speech acts. They are mostly used to express the speaker’s emotional state. In this chapter we have a look at expressive speech acts that state what the speaker feels: apologizing, thanking, congratulating, welcoming, objecting. They express psychological states and can be statements of pleasure, pain, joy, sorrow, etc. After having analyzed various cases of intensification, we have revealed that intensifiers giving emotive force to a certain part of a certain part of the sentence can be divided into 3 groups according to their nature: positive, negative and either positive or negative, and illustrate it with examples. The illustrations come to prove that intensifiers are profusely used in modern conversational English. Via intensification the speaker very often stands a better chance to achieve his/her desired positive or negative perlocutionary effect. The results of our analysis are summed up in the conclusion. Thus, the aim of the present paper is: 1. To do research into the classification of speech acts

2. To find out what do imperatives express as direct and indirect speech acts 3. To find out which kind of speech acts are expressive speech acts and what they express 4. To clarify the groups of intensifiers

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