Understanding English Linguistics Chapter 2 Pragmatics : Overview of Speech Act Theory I Tae-Jin Yoon Dept. of English Language and Literature Objects After this lecture, you should be able to ◦ Identify various types of speech acts. Explicit and nonexplicit illocutionary acts Direct and indirect illocutionary acts Speech acts Illocutionary acts Locutionary acts Performative verb Explicit nonexplicit Syntactic form direct indirect Actual meaning Propositional contents expressed implied literal nonliteral 1. Explicit vs. implied illocutionary acts Performative verbs ◦ English contains a set of verbs, each of which actually names the illocutionary forces of that verb. ◦ I confess that I stole the family jewels. ◦ I warn you to stop teasing your sister. ◦ May I inquire where you got that gun? ◦ I promise I'll come to your birthday party. ◦ I apologize for calling you a liar. ◦ I name this "The Good Ship Lollipop. Conditions for a performative verb to have its performative sense 1. 2. 3. be positive be present tense have a first person agent ◦ (i.e., performer of the action of the verb) 4. refer to a specific event A performative verb as its performative sense? 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. I promise I'll bring the beans. I can't promise to bring the beans. (not positive) I promised I would bring the beans. (not present) Big Bob promises that he'll bring the beans. (not first person) I promise people things from time to time. (not specific) Criteria for performative verbs Performative verbs 1. describes a voluntary act 2. describes an act that can only be performed with words 3. can be used with the performative indicator hereby I know that the cube root of 27 is 3. *I hereby know that the cube root of 27 is 3. Explicit performative An explicit performative ◦ An utterance that contains a performative verb used in its performative sense. A nonexplicit performative. ◦ Any utterance not containing a performative verb used in its performative sense. Representative Directive Question Commissive Expressive Declaration Explicit Performative Nonexplicit Performative I deny that I killed I did not kill Cock Robin. Cock Robin. I forbid you to leave Don't leave your room. your room. I ask you where you Where were you on the were on the night of night of May 21? May 21. I vow that I'll be faithful I'll be faithful to you. to you. I thank you for your I appreciate your help. help. I resign. I don't work here anymore. Notes on some explicit performatives Stock utterances ◦ Thank you (I thank you). ◦ Congratulations (I congratulate you). Nouns derived from performative verbs ◦ e.g., advice from advise ◦ My advice is for you to leave now. ◦ = I advise you to leave now Exercise D.1.a Explain why each of the performative verbs in the following utterances is not being used in its performative sense. I warned you not to open that door. 2. Direct vs. Indirect Illocutionary Acts Direct illocutionary acts ◦ An illocutionary act is issued directly when the syntactic form of the utterance matches the illocutionary force of the utterance. Indirect illocutionary acts ◦ An illocutionary act is issued indirectly when the syntactic form of the utterance does not match the illocutionary force of the utterance. Direct illocutionary acts Utterance Keep quiet. Do you know Mary? What time is it? How nice you are! It's raining. I'll help you with the dishes. You're fired. Illocutionary Act Directive Yes-No question Syntactic Form Wh-question Expressive Representative Commissive Imperative Yes-No interrogative Wh-interrogative Exclamatory Declarative Declarative Declaration Declarative Indirect illocutionary acts Utterance Illocutionary Force Syntactic Form You might give me a hand with this. (Give me a hand with this.) And you are . . . (Who are you?) Could you keep quiet? (Keep quiet.) Do you have the time? (What time is it?) Can I give you a hand with that? (I can give you a hand with that.) I'm sorry to hear about your loss. (How sorry I am to hear about your loss!) Why don't you be quiet? (Be quiet.) Directive Declarative Wh-question Directive Expressive Declarative Yes-No interrogative Yes-No interrogative Yes-No interrogative Declarative Directive Wh-interrogative Wh-question Commissive Note: Direct phrasing in parentheses Summary on illocutionary acts The illocutionary part of a speech act ◦ What utterance does (rather than what it says) Six types of illocutionary acts: representatives, directives, questions, commissives, expressives, and declarations Felicity conditions Explict and nonexplicit performatives Direct or nondirect Exercise E.a. For each of the following utterances, state (i) the syntactic form, (ii) the illocutionary act it performs, and (iii) whether the illocutionary act is performed directly or indirectly. A clerk says to a customer, And your account number is. . . Exercise E.c. For each of the following utterances, state (i) the syntactic form, (ii) the illocutionary act it performs, and (iii) whether the illocutionary act is performed directly or indirectly. An impatient husband grouses to his wife: Shouldn't we be leaving soon?
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