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Pragmatics Examination Questions
Direct and indirect speech acts, Austin’s and Searle’s speech act taxonomies
Speech act theory falls within micro pragmatics. In general, a speech act is what a speaker performs when producing any utterance and it can be considered successful if a speaker and his audience have understood the context and the situation.
In 1962 Austin developed a speech act theory which was further developed by Searle in 1969.
Austin’s theory implies that speech acts have three types of meanings:
Propositional meaning – it is the literal meaning of what is said. E.g. My head aches.
Illocutionary meaning – it is the implied meaning of what is said. E.g. ‘My head aches’ could be an indirect request for someone to give pills for a headache or it could be a complaint that the existing situation is causing headaches.
Perlocutionary meaning – it is the effect that has been created on the listener. e.g. ‘My head aches’ could result in someone providing pills for headaches.
As it can be seen from the given examples, a speech act has a propositional meaning on one hand and an illocutionary meaning on the other hand.…
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