Speech Act Theory: Taxanomies of Acts and Multiple functions & indirect acts

            Taxanomies of Acts
Although Austin (1962: chapter 12) proposes a classification of speech acts, Searle (1979), argues that Austin’s taxonomy does not maintain a clear distinction between illocutionary verbs and acts.
Five classes of speech acts:
  1. Representative, such as asserting (penegasan), description
            “The earth is round.”
            Boss: “This isn’t your private army.”
  1. Directives, such as requesting
            “Don’t touch that!”
  1. Commissives, such as promising
            “I’m going to get it right next time.”
  1. Expressive, such as thanking, apology
            “I’m really sorry”
  1. Declarative, such as appointing
            Priest: I now pronounce you husband and wife.
            Boss: I’m telling you to go by the book.

1) Representative/ Assertives: statements that may be judged true or false because they purport to describe a state of affairs in the world. “tuturan yang mengikat penuturnya akan kebenaran atas apa yang diujarkan

2) Directives: statements that attempt to make the auditor´s actions fit the propositional content. “Jenis tindak tutur yang dipakai oleh oenutur untuk menyuruh orang lain melakukan sesuatu

3) Commissives: statements which commit the speaker to a course of action as described by the propositional content. “Jenis tindak tutur yang dipahami oleh penutur untuk mengikatkan dirinya terhadap tindakan-tindakan di masa yang akan datang

4) Expressives: statements that express the “sincerity condition of the speech act”. “tindak tutur yang menyatakan sesuatu yang dirasakan oleh penutur

5) Declaratives: statements that attempt to change the world by “representing it as having been changed. “jenis tindak tutur yang mengubah dunia melalui tuturan

             Multiple functions and indirect acts
Some utterances have multiple functions because one act is being performed by way of another: These are called “indirect” speech act.
An indirect speech acts is defined as an utterance in which one illocutionary act (a “primary” act) is performed by way of the performance of another act (a “literal” act).

Direct speech act = “Close he door”
Indirect speech act = “Can you close the door?”

            Summary: meaning, use, and actions
Speech act theory is basically concerned with what people “do” with language—with the functions of language.
The functions focused upon communicative intentions.

Summary of Approaches to Discourse by Deborah Schiffrin (1995) page 57-60.


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