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Structure of Speech Acts

Speech act theory

Ò Theory of meaning holds that the meaning of linguistic expressions can be explained in terms of the rules governing their use in performing various speech acts

e.g., admonishing, asserting, commanding, exclaiming, promising, questioning, requesting, warning.

Participants of Speech Acts


Ò The addresser

Ò The addressee

Ò The speech act

Characteristics of Speech Acts

Main Characteristics

According to Ģ. Halliday:

Ò SA is an elementary speech unit, succession of language expressions uttered by one speaker and understood by at least one hearer

Ò SA is the final one in the course of other actions; they can be universal (ie confirmation)and socially bound (asking about marital status, salary)

Ò perlocution is always universal, illocutions can be univeral and specific being differently represented in different languages

Ò SA can be smaller or bigger than the sentence

Ò Speech act connects verbal and non- verbal behaviour;

SA Characteristics

Ò SA, viewed as a surface structure of the sentence, reflects textual connections and grammar rules;

Ò SĄ gives possibility to distinguish between the text and subtext;

Ò The typical task of SA is influencing on addressee’s thoughts;

Ò SA presupposes grammatical description, pragmatic context and speaker’s and hearer’s roles, underlying conventions and norms of a society.

Ò The literal meaning of the utterance is not decisive, it is important to understand the aim of SA: detecting of illocutionary force of the utterance is important;

Ò SĄ connects the sentence with the utterance.

Types of addressee


Ò Direct addressee (A) is an intended direct recipient of the speaker's (S)communication.

Ò A listener is either an addressee (A) or a bystander (B), indirect addressee.

Ò Quasi-addressee (icon, computer, stars, photos etc.)

Date: 2015-12-11; view: 1953

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