Indirect Speech Acts in Modern English Discourse

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  • Topic: Pragmatics, Speech act, Illocutionary act
  • Pages : 35 (10108 words )
  • Download(s) : 216
  • Published : April 12, 2011
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CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION…………….……………………………………….3 1. INDIRECT SPEECH ACTS: FORM VERSUS FUNCTION…………5 2. WHY DO SPEAKERS HAVE TO BE INDIRECT?…………………..7 2.1. The cooperative principle…………………………………………….7 2.2. The theory of politeness ……………………………………………...8 3. HOW DO HEARERS DISCOVER INDIRECT SPEECH ACTS

AND “DECIPHER” THEIR MEANING?…………………………….10 3.1. The inference theory………………………………………………...10 3.2. Indirect speech acts as idioms?…………………………………...…12 3.3. Other approaches to the problem……………………………………13 4. ILLOCUTIONS OF INDIVIDUAL UTTERANCES WITHIN A

DISCOURSE………………………………………………………….14 5.INDIRECT SPEECH ACTS IN ENGLISH AND UKRAINIAN……..16 6.EXAMPLES OF INDIRECT SPEECH ACTS IN MODERN
ENGLISH DISCOURSE………..…………………………………….18 6.1. Fiction………………………………………………………………18 6.2. Publicism……………………………………………………………20 6.3. Advertising………………………………………………………….21 6.4. Anecdotes…………………………………………………………...21

7. INDIRECT SPEECH ACTS AS A YARDSTICK OF COMMUNI
CATIVE MATURITY AND MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING …..….23

CONCLUSIONS……….……………………………………………..25

LITERATURE….…………………………………………………….28

INTRODUCTION

“A great deal can be said in the study of

language without studying speech acts,

but any such purely formal theory is

necessarily incomplete. It would be as if

baseball were studied only as a formal

system of rules and not as a game.”

John Rogers Searle

In the late 1950s, the Oxford philosopher John Austin gave some lectures on how speakers “do things with words” and so invented a theory of “speech acts” [10, 40] which now occupies the central place in pragmatics (pragmatics is the study of how we use language to communicate in a particular context). Austin highlighted the initial contrast between the constative and the performative. While constatives describe a state of affairs, performatives (explicit and implicit) have the potential to bring about a change in some state of affairs. Classical examples of performatives include the naming of a ship, the joining of two persons in marriage, and the sentencing of a criminal by an authorised person. Austin distinguished between the locution of a speech act (the words uttered), its illocution (the intention of the speaker in making the utterance) and its perlocution (its effects, intended or otherwise). Whereas constatives typically have truth conditions to comply with, speech acts must satisfy certain “felicity conditions” in order to count as an action: there must be a conventional procedure; the circumstances and people must be appropriate; the procedure must be executed correctly and completely; often, the persons must have the requisite thoughts, feelings, etc.

John Austin’s theory of speech acts was generalized to cover all utterances by a student of Austin's, John Rogers Searle [43, 69]. Searle showed that we perform speech acts every time we speak. For example, asking “What's the time?” we are performing the speech act of making a request. Turning an erstwhile constative into an explicit performative looks like this: “It is now ten o’clock” means “I hereby pronounce that it is ten o’ clock in the morning.”

In such a situation, the original constative versus performative distinction becomes untenable: all speech is performative. The important distinction is not between the performative and the constative, but between the different kinds of speech acts being performed, that is between direct and indirect speech acts. Searle's hypothesis was that in indirect speech acts, the speaker communicates the non-literal as well as the literal meaning to the hearer. This new pragmatic trend was named intentionalism because it takes into...
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