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Saturday, 6 October 2012

Speech Acts

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 “Part of the meaning of an utterance is its intended social function” (Saeed, 1997: 221) which includes asking questions, making suggestions, getting, and thanking other speakers. 

Every utterance consists of 3 parts:
  1. A locutionary act
-          Is the product of sounds and words with meanings. 
-          Involves the utterance of an expression with sense and reference (using sounds and words with meaning). 
-          Is the act of saying something.
-          Utterance act and propositional act.  Form and meaning.
  1. An illocutionary act
-          Is the communicative purpose of an utterance.
-          The act is performed “in saying” the locution so that what was said had the force (not the meaning) of that locution.
-          The issuing of an utterance with conventional communicative force is achieved “in saying”.
There are three features of illocutionary acts:
1.      Illocutionary force
2.      Direction of fit : world-to-word / word-to-world,  e.g. detective following a shopper, doctor, lawyer
3.      Expressed psychological state = sincerity condition of a speech act.  Belief & attitudes and utterance of the speaker should correspond.
  1. A perlocutionary act
A speech act that produces an effect, intended or not, which is achieved in an addressee by a speaker’s utterance.  The actual effect is achieved by “saying”.
For example: persuading, convincing, scaring, insulting, getting the addressee to do .
A speech act is an utterance that serves a function in communication, an act that a speaker performs when making an utterance, including:
1.      A general act (illocutionary act: a complete speech act, made in a typical utterance).
2.      An act involved in the illocutionary act, including utterance acts and propositional acts.
3.      The production of a particular effect in the addressee.
Types of speech acts:
1.      Directives
Attempts by the speaker to get the addressee to do something.
For example: ordering, commanding, questioning, requesting, inviting, suggesting.
2.      Commissives
These speech acts commit the speaker to some future course of action.
For example: promising, vowing, pledging, threatening, agreeing, offering.
3.      Representatives
These speech acts commit the speaker to the truth of the expressed proposition.
For example: affirming, describing, claiming, mentioning, asserting, concluding, welcoming, informing, rhetorical questions.
4.      Verdictives
Speaker does something about the condition of the Hearer.
For example: assessment, rank, estimate, diagnose .
5.      Declaratives
These speech acts effect immediate changes in the institutional state of affairs and which tend to rely on elaborate extralinguistics institutions.
For example: excommunicating, declaring a war, divorce, baptizing/christening, marrying, resigning, firing from employment.
6.      Expressives
These speech acts express a psychological state.
For example: thanking, apologizing, greeting, congratulating, appreciating, sympathy, condolence.

speech act = tindak ujar (bhs.Indonesia) 


About the author

Hening is a laid-back ENTP (by upbringing) and a solar-Scorpio-and-lunar-Sagittarius (by birth). She believes that thrifting is an art form that helps rewire our brain circuits for the better.


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