Types of Speech Acts
There are various kinds of speech acts, yet the following, classified by John Searle, have received particular attention:
Representatives commit a speaker to the truth of an expressed proposition.
- Paradigm cases: asserting, stating, concluding, boasting, describing, suggesting.
- I am a great singer.
- Bill was an accountant.
Commissives commit a speaker to some future action.
- Paradigm cases: promising, pledging, threatening, vowing, offering.
- I am going to leave you.
- I'll call you tonight.
Directives are used by a speaker who attempts to get the addressee to carry out an action.
- Paradigm cases: requesting, advsing, commanding, challenging, inviting, daring, entreating.
- You'd better tidy up that mess.
- Sit down.
Declarations affect an immediate change of affairs.
- Paradigm cases: declaring, baptising, resigning, firing from employment, hiring, arresting.
- We find the defendant guilty.
- I resign.
Expressives espress some sort of psychological state.
- Paradigm cases: greeting, thanking, apologising, complaining, congratulating.
- This beer is disgusting.
- I'm sorry to hear that.
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