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Kyle Dix


27 March 2017


When talking about Charles Bazermans Speech Acts, Genres, and Activity Systems it goes

farther into genre sets, speech acts, and social facts. Bazerman sets all these different topics and

even delves deeper than just the definitions. When Bazerman explains these topics he also gives

real life examples to make it clear. Bazerman really focuses in on the three main topics and

shows how they work.

In Bazermans Speech Acts, Genres, and Activity Systems one topic is Social facts.

Bazerman states social facts are those things that people believe to be true, and therefore bear

on how they define a situation (P.368). Bazerman then continues to explain and give examples

on social facts. One of his examples that he gives is when he talks about the importance of a

social fact as well when he talks about making a bet. Bazerman says very often social facts bear

on the words people speak or write and on the force the utterance carries (P.369). Bazerman

ends his thought on social fact to tell how social facts work with speech act when he states

Many of the social facts, such as the ones described in the last several examples hinges on

speech act, whether certain verbal formulations were accurately and properly done. If properly

accomplished these words are to be taken as fully completed acts that should be respected as

having been done (P.370).

Bazerman also explains speech act. Bazerman uses philosopher John Austin to help

explain speech act when John Austin puts that words not only mean things, they do things

(P.370). Bazerman then builds on what Austin has said and furthers his explanation by saying to
argue that every statement does something, even if only to assert a certain state of affairs is true.

Thus, all utterances embody speech act (P.370). Bazerman continues to explain speech act

stating of course for our words to carry out their acts these words must be said by the right

people, in the right situation, with the right set of understandings (P.370). What Bazerman is

saying is that you need a judge or priest to say you are married instead of some random person

on the street because it's not the right person or the right situation. The best support for this

statement would be all these terms represent felicity conditions that must be right for the

speech act to succeed (P.370).

Bazermans biggest topic would be genre. Bazerman states that genre helps is with

coordinating speech act. Bazerman says if we find a certain kind of utterance or text seems to

work well in a situation and be understood in a certain way, when we see another similar

situation we are likely to say or write something similar (P.372). What Bazerman is trying to say

is that we tend to write similar topics and tend to think more like people with the same ways. For

example if a Bronco fan is talking with a Raider fan their views aren't similar so they don't really

connect but they still connect through the sport and are able to talk about it better then they can

baseball. This is also shown when Bazerman states genre arise in social processes of people

trying to understand each other well enough to coordinate activities and share meanings for their

practical purpose (P.373). If you look at any music band they are in a genre set, for example

like Green Day, the punk rock band, won't make classical music because it's not in their genre


In context of what Bazerman is saying the world makes a bit more sense. What I mean is

that when looking at genre and genre set it makes certain things more understandable. For

example when looking at music and movies genre is a big part. Some people have a certain genre
set they are attracted to. For example, Im a fan of superhero movies. The genre is superhero

movies because the way they are focused on superheroes. The way genre affects music is the

way some bands make their music. Like the band, Kiss will never create rap because it's a

different genre than what Kiss would do. Bazerman points out speech act as well and what it

shows me is that the way someone says something is how they want it to come across. So, when

I talk to someone and my tone isn't right then what I want isn't right.

Charles Bazermans Speech Acts, Genres, and Activity Systems does a perfect job

explaining how genre, social act and speech act work. When he goes deeper into these topics it

helps explain the areas and how they affect the world and how they work.
Work Cited

Bazerman, Charles. Speech Acts, Genre, and Activity Systems: How Texts Organize

Activity and People What Writing Does and How It Does It: An Introduction to Analyzing Texts

and Textual Practices. Ed. Charles Bazerman and Paul Prior. London: Routledge, 2004. 309-39.