Formulated 1962 by philosopher John L. Austin. A speech act can be defined as "the action performed by a speaker with an utterance".
Function: Command / Request
refers to the linguistic form of a speech act
Locutionary act = what we say
refers to the communicative intention
Illocutionary force = what we mean by it
refers to the effect produced on the hearer
Perlocutionary effect = the effect it has
Locution: "What a gorgeous dress!"
Illocution: "Mom, can I have it?" / "Can I borrow it?" / Compliment
Perlocution: Your mom buys the dress for you / Your friend hands it over to you / "Thank you for the compliment"
To change an existing state of affairs by declaring something
e.g. to fire
e.g. to baptize
e.g. to arrest
To represent or assert a state of affairs as it is viewed by the speaker
e.g. to claim
e.g. to complain
To express feelings and speakers' inner states
e.g. to compliment
e.g. to thank
e.g. to congratulate
To direct hearers to do something
e.g. to ask
e.g. to order
e.g. to permit
The speaker commits himself to a certain action in the future
e.g. to promise
e.g. to vow
e.g. to swear
Some speech acts can't be assigned to one particular type, but are combinations of two different types
e.g. "One more step, and I'll call the police!"
Paul Grice = American philosopher Stated that we all communicate under the assumption that our partner wants to cooperate and vice versa. We assume that everyone sticks to his maxims.
Say neither more nor less than required.
Do not lie or state for which you lack adequate evidence.
Be clear, brief and orderly.