Identifying direct and indirect speech acts
If you consider a particular sentence and you are still not quite sure how you know or how you can find out whether the speech act is a direct or indirect one, read through and remember the following steps.
a) Sentences with performative verbs.
|Step 1||Check if the performative verb|
is used preformatively.
|yes: go to step 2|
|no: go to b)|
|Step 2||Check if the performative verb|
matches the speech act expressed by the sentence.
b) Sentences without performative verbs or with performative verbs
not used performatively.
|Step 1||Check the sentence form of the given sentence|
(declarative, interrogative, imperative).
|Step 2||Refer to the table below (typical association) and find out the speech act|
associated with the sentence form identified in step 1.
|Step 3||Determine the actual speech act |
expressed by the sentence.
|Step 4||Check if the speech acts identified |
in steps 2 and 3 match.
Typical association between sentence form and speech acts.
|Sentence form||Speech act||Example|
|declarative||assertion||John has only five dollars.|
|interrogative||question||Who ate my cheesecake?|
|Give me that book.|
Please pass me the salt.