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Pragmatics 3 Outline: A. Recap B. The classification of speech acts - Searle C.

Illustrations & problems with Searle's rules & categories of speech acts A. RECAP Structure of the speech act (Austin) Illocutionary force/proposition? Searle's felicity conditions/semantic rules for promises?

The illocutionary point of - an order: get the Hearer to ............ something; The illocutionary point of - an assertion: get the Hearer to .......... something - a promise: a .................... by the Speaker to perform some act Illocutionary force vs. illocutionary point Q: Is the illocutionary point of a SA the same as its illocutionary force? (2) a. b. Bring me a glass of water! (.........) Could you please give me a glass of water? (..............)

(2a/b) same/different illocutionary point, the same/different illocutionary force?? 1.2. Direction of fit between the words and the world [direcia de ajustare] words - the words uttered, the world - the world referred to. Some illocutions have as part of their illocutionary point to get the words (more strictly, their propositional content) to match the world, others to get the world to match the words. (3) a. b. The skirt is red. Ill bring you some candy when I come home.

B. THE CLASSIFICATION OF SPEECH ACTS 1. Criteria for the classification of SAs 3 essential criteria for the classification of speech acts (among others proposed by Searle 1979 A Taxonomy of Speech Acts ): the illocutionary point of the speech act the direction of fit between the words and the world the expressed psychological state

1.1. The illocutionary point of the speech act 'If we adopt illocutionary point as the basic notion on which to classify uses of language, then there are a rather limited number of basic things we do with language; we tell people how things are, we try to get them to do things, we commit ourselves to doing things, we express our feelings and attitudes, and we bring about changes through our utterances. Often we do more than one of these at once in the same utterance' (Searle 1975: 369) The illocutionary point of a SA =...................................... (1) a. b. c. Lock the door Oil floats on water. Ill clean my room, mum!

word-to-world direction of fit (get the words to fit the world) world-to-word direction of fit (get the world to fit the word)

1) assertions - have as part of their point to get the words to match the world = word-to-world direction of fit 2) promises - have as part of their point to get the world to match the words = world-to-word direction of fit The direction of fit is a consequence of the illocutionary point of a speech act. Q: What about descriptions, requests, vows, explanations, commands, statements? 1.3. The expressed psychological state

In the performance of any illocutionary act with a propositional content, the speaker expresses some attitude, state, etc., to that propositional content. a man who states, explains, asserts or claims that p expresses the belief that p; a man who promises, vows, threatens or pledges to do the act a expresses an intention to do a; a man who orders, commands, requests the hearer to do an act a expresses a desire (want, wish) that H do a; a man who apologizes for doing a expresses regret at having done a

characteristic syntactic pattern: - a declarative sentence they have a truth value characteristic PF verbs for assertives: assert, state, claim, report, confirm, confess, boast, claim the degree of belief and commitment may vary or even reach zero the strength with which the illocutionary point is pursued may vary (suggest vs. solemnly swear)

The simplest test of an assertive: can you characterize it (inter alia) as true or false? 2) Directives (6) a. b. c. Can you get me some coffee? Don't touch that! It would be bettter if you reconsidered your position.

- this is true even if the man is insincere: - see (3) (3) a. b. c. *I state that p but I do not believe that p. *I promise to A but I do not intend to do A. *I order you to A but I do not want you to do A.

2. Basic classes of illocutionary acts Basic sentence types (4) a. b. c. You are wearing a dress. Are you wearing a dress? Wear a dress!

the illocutionary point is to get the hearer to do a certain action. the direction of fit: world-to-words - make the world fit the words the expressed psychological state: want/desire the propositional content is always that the hearer H does some future action - should be controllable (within the power of the hearer), characteristic verbs denoting members of this class are ask, order, command, request, beg, plead, pray, entreat, invite, permit, advise, dare, defy, challenge, insist

1) Assertives (5) a. b. The earth is flat. The lesson is too tiring.

Q: What about questions? NB. Searle insists that he is classifying illocutionary acts, not verbs. Advise, suggest, tell - can be either assertive or directive (7) a. b. c. d. e. She advised us that there had been a mistake. She advised us to arrive early. She suggested that we should arrive early. She suggested that there had been a mistake. She told us to arrive early.

the illocutionary point of an assertive is to commit the speaker to the fact that something is true, to the truth of the expressed proposition direction of fit: words to the world - make the words fit the world the expressed psychological state: belief

f. 3) Commissives (8) -

She told us that there had been a mistake. (10) a. b. c. d. I find you guilty as charged. I now pronounce you man and wife. I appoint you chairman. War is hereby declared.

I promise to do it. the illocutionary point is to commit the speaker (in some varying degrees) to some future action, the direction of fit: world-to-word the expressed psychological state : intention (the speaker expresses the intention that the he will do the act a) the propositional content is always that the speaker S does some future action. prototypical verbs: promising, threatening, offering, vowing, swear

Q: this class corresponds to Austin's class of .................................. (?) the successful performance of the illocutionary act creates a new reality - brings about the correspondence between the propositional content and reality, direction of fit: the performance of a declarative brings about a fit by its very successful performance - if I successfully perform the act of declaring a state of war, then war is on direction of fit - both word-to-world and world-to-words they have no expressed psychological state they rely heavily on extralinguistic conventions verbs: call, declare, baptize, define, name, appoint, elect, pronounce

Q: Directives vs Commissives similarities/differences? 4) Expressives (9) a. b. c. d. I congratulate you on winning the race I thank you for helping me. I am sorry for being late Ouch/Damn!

Assertive declarations: (11) Judge: You are guilty! Umpire: You are out!

the illocutionary point is to express the Speakers attitude/psychological state to a certain state of affairs referred to in the propositional content prototypical cases: thank, apologise, welcome, congratulate, condole, deplore.

- both factual claims (we can tell whether they are true or false in the real world) & doings/performative (if a judge says you are guilty, then you are legally guilty) warn - an assertive + directive illocution (12) They warned us that food was expensive. => They warned us to take enough money.

Q: is there a direction of fit for expressives? 'In performing an expressive, the speaker is neither trying to get the world to match the words nor the words to match the world, rather the truth of the expressed proposition is presupposed.' (Searle) a variety of different psychological states: gratitude, admiration, regret

Q: Classes of speech act in (12)? (12) a. b. c. d. e. A date is a job-interview that lasts all night. You are fired. I want you to put Hank Wiggen on the transplant list. I resign. He needs a new kidney.

5) Declaratives/declarations

f. g. incompetence! h. i.

I excommunicate you. Ill speak to my friend at the Daily Mail about your I deplore the heavy use of cars by members of our club. Isnt he great?

Q: Can (15) count as an undertaking on the part of the speaker to do a future action beneficial to the Hearer? Which felicity condition is not met? c) promises made under duress:


(16) I promise I wont press charges against you - made by a hostage being held at shotgun by their captor d) promise or threat?

Felicity conditions for PROMISING (17) (13) I promise I'll be good to your children. e) PROMISE or OFFER? - hard to distinguish Preparatory condition 1: H would prefer Ss doing A to his not doing A S believes H would prefer Ss doing A to not doing A. Preparatory condition 2: It is not obvious to both S and H that S will do A in the normal course of events Propositional content condition: S predicates a future act A of S. Sincerity condition: S intends to do A. Essential condition: the utterance counts as an undertaking by S to do A BUT: a) S might not know for sure whether the Hearer wants the act to be done or not. high (14) Tom to John: I promise to help you with that application for Cornell. The offer is rejected and the justification shows the reason why it is rejected - it is not beneficial for the hearer => the preparatory condition is not met 2. Directives Felicity conditions for QUESTIONING (20) a. b. Do you sell wine here? Where can I find some good recipes for lasagne? Which condition is not met if: - John has just decided not to go to university - John you has already mailed his application and it will reach the selection board in the normal course of events? b) promises may be made to give assurance (15) a. b. I promise everything in there is going on smoothly, I promise John is safe and sound (18) Ill order Chinese food I promise Ill rent When Harry Met Sally tonight

preparatory conditions differ for promises and offers: Offers may be rejected - refusals are generally followed by justifications (19) a. Tom: I'll bring you some cake. b. John: Ive put on some weight lately, c. John: Im trying to cut down on sugar, my blood pressure is a bit

Preparatory condition 1 : S does not know the answer i.e. for a YES/No Q, S does not know whether P is true or false

for an elicitative/Wh-Q, S does not know the missing information. Preparatory condition 2 : It is not obvious to both S and H that H will provide the information at that time without being asked. Propositional content condition : any proposition Sincerity condition : S wants this information Essential condition: the utterance counts as an attempt to elicit this information from H. BUT: Which conditions are not met in (21)?

if uttered by a parent to a child -.... if uttered to a private by their superior -...

3. Further criticism of SEARLE (J. THOMAS 1995) 1. (25) Not all SAs have propositional content a. b. c. d. Sorry! Excuse me! (for apologies) Huh? Hello! Hi! (for greetings)


a. b. by a lawyer

What is the capital of Ethiopia? - asked by a teacher How long have you known the defendant, Ms White? - asked 2.

Rhetorical questions: (22) Is it right to see politicians getting bribed and look the other side?

It is sometimes hard to distinguish fully btw. one SA and another (Searles approach covers only prototypical cases)

Felicity conditions for REQUESTING Preparatory condition: H is able to perform A Sincerity condition: S wants H to do A Propositional condition: S predicates a future act A of H. Essential condition: the utterance counts as an attempt by S to get H to do A. BUT: Which condition is not met in (9)? (23) Child to (poor) mother: Could you buy me this huge truck?

There are cases when only the essential condition distinguishes between Speech Acts Example: compliment vs. congratulation (Thomas 1995) e = expression making up the illocution (26) a. b. You look great with this new hairdo! (I'm so happy) you've done something new to your hair!

Orders and commands Thomas 1995: Orders & commands have an additional preparatory rule : S must be in a position of authority over H ==> the essential condition needs to be reformulated: the utterance counts as an attempt to get H to do A in virtue of the authority of S over H (24) Shine your boots

the two acts have the same preparatory, propositional and sincerity conditions:

Preparatory condition: e(xpression) is in Hs interest and S believes e is in Hs interest Propositional content condition: Some event, act, aspect e related to H. Sincerity condition: S is pleased about e. Essential condition: CONGRATULATION: the utterance counts as an expression of pleasure of the Speaker, it is speaker-centred

COMPLIMENT: the utterance counts as a commendation of or tribute to H, it is hearer-centred

BUT: atypical cases of apologies - on smb else's behalf, over things they have no control over, about present acts, future acts (31) a. b. c. d. Im sorry Tim couldnt make it, he has to stay extra hours, Sorry the boys are shouting so much, theyre so excited its Im sorry about this ear-grating noise Im afraid Ill ask you to leave us alone now.

Utterances are multifunctional which makes the task of distinguishing between Speech Acts difficult. (27) years? 3. Ordinary speech often shows no one-to-one correspondence between perlocution and illocutionary point. The same perlocutionary act [the hearer being dismissed], may be performed by different speech acts: (28) a. Dismissed if uttered in a military context, b. Class dismissed if uttered in an educational setting, c. Thank, you, prime Minister, for your intervention uttered during a news bulletin by an anchor pressed for time. 3. (29) 4. Certain SAs overlap: Would you like a glass of wine? Searles conditions sometimes exclude perfectly normal instances of a SA (see the case of APOLOGISING below) a. b. Are you doing anything tonight? Have you had many extramarital affairs during the past three


Conditions for APOLOGIZING (Thomas) (30) Im sorry I broke your nose.

Preparatory condition: S believes that A was not in Hs best interest Propositional condition: S admits of a past act A of S considered detrimental for H Sincerity condition : S regrets A Essential condition : counts as an apology for act A