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Speech acts.pptx
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Speech acts.pptx

  1. 1. Speech Acts: What is a Speech Act? An action performed in saying something. We perform speech acts when we offer an apology, greeting, request, complaint, invitation, compliment, or refusal. A speech act is an utterance that serves a function in communication. A speech act might contain just one word, as in "Sorry!" to perform an apology, or several words or sentences: "I’m sorry I forgot your birthday. I just let it slip my mind."
  2. 2. Speech acts include real-life interactions and require not only knowledge of the language but also appropriate use of that language within a given culture. Here are some examples of speech acts we use or hear every day: Greeting: "Hi, Eric. How are things going?" Request: "Could you pass me the mashed potatoes, please?" Complaint: "I’ve already been waiting three weeks for the computer, and I was told it would be delivered within a week." Invitation: "We’re having some people over Saturday evening and wanted to know if you’d like to join us." Compliment: "Hey, I really like your tie!" Refusal: "Oh, I’d love to see that movie with you but this Friday just isn’t going to work."
  3. 3. Speech act theory broadly explains these utterances . 1. Locutionary act : saying something (the locution) with a certain meaning in real sense. Two types of locutionary act : utterance acts : where something is said (or a sound is made) and which may not have any meaning, example : Oh! - is an utterance (communication is not intended - it is just a sound caused by surprise) propositional acts : where a particular reference is made Example: The black cat (something is referenced, but no communication may be intended
  4. 4. 2. illocutionary acts: are the real actions which are performed by the utterance, where saying equals doing, as in betting, believe , dare, warning. etc . the performance of an act in saying something (vs. the general act of saying something). The illocutionary force is the speaker's intent. A true 'speech act'. e.g. informing, ordering, warning, undertaking. Example: I promise to pay you back- is an illocutionary act (it intends to communicate)
  5. 5. 3. Perlocutionary acts: Speech acts that have an effect on the feelings, thoughts or actions of either the speaker or the listener. In other words, they seek to change minds! such as persuading, convincing, scaring, enlightening, inspiring, or otherwise getting someone to do or realize something•
  6. 6. Example Oh! - is an utterance (note that communication is not intended - it is just a sound caused by surprise). The black cat - is a propositional act (something is referenced, but no communication may be intended) The black cat is stupid - is an assertive illocutionary act (it intends to communicate). Please find the black cat - is a directive perlocutionary act (it seeks to change behaviour).
  7. 7. when examining perlocutionary acts, the effect on the hearer or reader is emphasized Example: “Please find the black cat ”- is a directive perlocutionary act (it seeks to change behaviour). As an example, consider the following utterance: "By the way, I have a CD of Debussy; would you like to borrow it?" Its illocutionary function is an offer, while its intended perlocutionary effect might be to impress the listener, or to show a friendly attitude, or to encourage an interest in a particular type of music. .
  8. 8. Direct speech acts When the semantic meaning of a sentence is the same as what the speaker wanted to convey , it is described as a direct speech act. For example, when a speaker doesn't know something and asks the hearer to provide the information, he or she will typically produce a direct speech act of the following type: Can you ride a bicycle ?
  9. 9. Did he come to class yesterday? Structures Functions Did you eat the pizza?................... Interrogative Question Eat the pizza (please)! ………..Imperative Command (Request) You ate the pizza. ……………. Declarative Statement
  10. 10. Indirect Speech act Whenever one of the forms in the set above is used to perform a function other than the one listed beside it, the result is an indirect speech act. (When a speaker, by asking a question wants a further action not only answer, it is called an Indirect Speech Act) . :Now compare this utterance with: Can you pass the salt ? In this second example, you would not usually understand the utterance as a question about your ability to do something. In fact, you would not treat this as a question at all. You would treat it as a request and perform the action requested. We are not really asking a question about someone’s ability. In fact, we don’t normally use this structure as a question at all. We normally use it to make a request. That is, we are using a syntactic structure associated with the function of a question, but in this case with the function of a request. This is an example of an indirect speech act.
  11. 11. It is possible to have strange effects if one person fails to recognize another person’s indirect speech act. Consider the following scene. A visitor to a city, carrying his luggage, looking lost, stops a passer-by. : Excuse me. Do you know where the Ambassador Hotel is? : Oh sure, I know where it is. (and walks away)
  12. 12. The main reason we use indirect speech acts seems to be that actions such as requests presented in an indirect way (Could you open that door for me?) are generally considered to be more gentle or more polite in our society than direct speech acts (Open that door for me!). Exactly why they are considered to be more polite is based on some complex social assumptions.

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