Speech acts represent a key concept in the field of pragmatics which can be broadly defined as language use in context taking into account the speaker's and the addressee's verbal and non-verbal contributions to the negotiation of meaning in interaction. Pragmatics. Types of Speech Acts. There are various kinds of speech acts, yet the following, classified by John Searle, have received particular attention. Speech act theory takes a close look at what we say, how we say it and what it really means. This lesson focuses on helping us to communicate more.


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Speech act theory takes a close look at what we say, how we say it and what it really means.


This lesson focuses on helping us to communicate more effectively. You'll never look at a text message the pragmatics speech acts way again! Exploring Pragmatics When you see the word pragmatics, it may have scared you or made you think that it involves a complex theory.

Pragmatics and speech acts

Although you may not have realized it, you have been using pragmatics since you were a child. Simply, pragmatics is the branch of linguistics that deals with language and how we use it in conversation.


Pragmatics speech acts utterances are both nonliteral and indirect. For example, one might utter "I love the sound of your voice" to tell someone nonliterally ironically that she can't stand the sound of his voice and thereby indirectly to ask him to stop singing.

Grice gives the impression that the distinction between what is said and what is implicated is exhaustive he counted irony, metaphor, and other kinds of figurative utterances as cases of implicature pragmatics speech acts, but there is a common phenomenon that Grice seems to have overlooked.

Consider that there are many sentences whose standard uses are not strictly determined by their meanings but are not oblique implicature-producing or figurative uses either.

Speech act - Wikipedia

For example, if one's spouse says "I will be home later" she is likely to mean that she will be home later that night, not merely at some time in the future. Or suppose your child comes crying to you with a minor injury and you say to him assuringly, pragmatics speech acts not going to die.

In both cases you do not mean precisely what you pragmatics speech acts saying but something more specific.

In such cases what one means is what may be called an expansion of what one says, in that adding more words 'tonight' or 'from that injury', in the examples would have made what was meant fully explicit.

There must be something which Jack is being claimed to be ready for and something which Jill is being pragmatics speech acts to be late to.

In these pragmatics speech acts what one means is a completion of what one says.


In both sorts of case, no particular word or phrase is being pragmatics speech acts nonliterally and there is no indirection. Both exemplify conversational impliciture, since part of what is meant is communicated not explicitly but implicitly, by way of expansion or completion.

They both claimed that the conventional meanings of certain terms, such as 'but' and 'still', make contributions to the total import of a sentence without bearing on its truth or falsity.

Speech Acts: Pragmatics & Discourse at IU: Indiana University Bloomington

In "She is poor but she is honest," for example, the contrast between being poor and being honest due to the presence of 'but', according to Grice "implied as distinct from being stated"p.

Frege and Grice merely appeal to intuition in suggesting that the conventional contributions of such terms do not affect what is said in utterances of sentences in which they occur. In my opinion Bach, bthe category of conventional implicature needlessly complicates Grice's distinction between what is said and what is implicated.

Indeed, apparent cases of conventional implicature are really instances of something else. There are two kinds of case to pragmatics speech acts. The first involves expressions like 'but' and 'still'.

Speech Acts

If we abandon the common assumption that indicative sentences express at most one proposition, we can see that such expressions do contribute to what is said. With "She is pragmatics speech acts but she is honest," the main pragmatics speech acts is that she is poor and she is honest, and the additional proposition is that being poor precludes being honest.

The intuition that the utterance can be true even if this secondary proposition is false is explained by the fact that the intuition is sensitive only to the main proposition.