Speech Acts and Events

Problems with the Performative Hypothesis

1. Which of the two performatives is explicit? (:vips 7348:)

The performative hypothesis has some technical disadvantages.

Compare the effect of the two performatives above. Uttering the explicit version of a command has a much more serious impact than uttering the implicit version. Thus, the two versions are not equivalent.

Another problem with the performative hypothesis arises when you try to find out what the performative verb might be for an utterance such as

You’re a stupid cow.

Even though the addressee might well be aware that the utterance is an insult, it would sound very strange in the explicit version

I hereby insult you that you are a stupid cow.