1.1 The background of the study
In social life, people always communicate with each other by using language.
Language is one of tools of communication. In communication, language has an
important role because it means to explain what the speaker wants the listener to do.
The purpose of communication itself is informative which means an appeal to the
mind that is accomplished through language (Berlo 1963:8).
While people communicate, they use utterances to express what they have in
their mind toward the listener. Utterance produced by speaker does not only function
to explain the speaker mind toward the listener but also means to show the
relationship between them. When we want to know people’s relationship through
their utterance, we can see it from speech act. According to Austin (1960), speech act
is a theory of performative language, in which to say something is to do something.
On any occasion, the action performed by producing an utterance will consist three
related acts (Yule, 1996:48). The following examples show Austin’s categorization:
a). Locutionary act is ‘what is said’ the form of uttered; the act of saying
something. (Cutting, 2002:16)
For example: if someone says ‘Knock the door!’ the locutionary acts is the
realization of the speaker’s utterance.
b). Illocutionary act is ‘what is done in uttering the word’, the function of the
word, the specific purpose that the speaker’s have in mind. (Ibid. 16)
For example: the utterance “I swear to give it back next time” is used to
perform the illocutionary act of promising.
c). Perlocutionary act is ‘what is done by uttering the word’; it is the effect on
listener, the listener’s reaction. (Ibid. 16)
For example: the utterance “there is something in your shoulder!” may cause
the listener to panic and to look on his shoulder. The perlocution of this
utterance is to cause those emotion and action.
In this research, the researcher will analyzes the speech acts in Presidential
Inauguration Address by Barack Obama, because in his speech, the researcher will
find promise and hope for change that are identified by the illocutionary act. The
researcher will focus on Searle’s theory for this research. Searle proposes five macro
classes of illocutionary acts. Those are (1) Representative, (2) Directives (3)
Commisives (4) Expressives, and (5) Declarative (Yule, 1996:53)
A study of the illocutionary acts in “presidential Inauguration speech by
Barack Obama means to explain the relationship between theory of language,
especially speech acts theory with its practice. This research tries to describe the
theory of illocutionary acts as theory of language in use and its relation to social,
political, economy, and culture background.
The researcher takes an example utterance in “Presidential Inauguration
speech by Barrack Obama”. The example is as follow:
“That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood”
The illocutionary act of the above utterances is “stating”. Obama states the
condition of United State which is in the mid of crisis, by saying “That we are in the
midst of crisis is well understood”. His utterance reflects the condition of economic
crisis in United States. There are many factors that cause this crisis. The government
spends much budget for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. U.S. banks make loans to
people that can not afford to pay back. A few of those banks almost go bankrupt and
have to be rescued by American taxpayers. So much debt has been created. All that
debt causes the U.S dollar to be weak. Oil in America affects the economy too. That
causes the price of oil to increase and affect to global oil market. In the reason above,
Obama state to handle the crisis, and give a best solution to reconstruct economic
Based on Searle’s classification, “Stating” is classified into Representatives.
According to Yule (1996:53), representatives are those kinds of speech acts that state
what the speaker believes to be case or not.
Barack Obama was born at the Kapi'olani Medical Center for Women &
Children in Honolulu, Hawaii, United States; he is the 44th and current President of
the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama was the
junior United States Senator from Illinois from January 2005 until November 2008,
when he resigned for following his election to the presidency.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barack_Obama) His power to gain masses led him to be
manifestation of American people, as politician, he can be said as the most successful
one. He is successful in manifesting his charisma and power through all of his
speeches. One of his books “The Audacity of Hope” became the best seller in
America and can be an inspiration for people for reclaiming American dream. The
researcher believes that the speech can move a great number of people for change.
Considering this reason, the researcher chooses the speech as the data. Another
consideration on choosing Obama’s, he is a symbolic leader of black American.
Moreover, Dupuis and Boeckelman, in Barack Obama; The New Face of American
Politics, view Obama who comes from minority family can overcome the political
opponents who have the position and role in American history. All of above praises
make the researcher believes that “Presidential Inauguration” from Barack Obama is
a worthy investigation.
Based on the description above, the point of interest of this research is
analyzing the speech acts by the title “A Study of Illocutionary acts in the
“Presidential Inauguration Address” by Barack Obama
1.2 Research question
This research is about the use of illocutionary acts in Presidential Inauguration
Address by Barack Obama. The researcher forms the following questions:
1. What are the illocutionary acts found in Presidential Inauguration Address by
2. What are the type of illocutionary acts found in Presidential Inauguration
Address by Barack Obama based on Searle’s classification?
1.3 Purpose of the Research
The purposes of the research are as follows:
1. To explain the illocutionary acts found in Presidential Inauguration Address
by Barack Obama.
2. To classify the type of illocutionary acts found in Presidential Inauguration
Address by Barack Obama based on Searle’s classification.
1.4 The scope and limitation
This research focuses on the illocutionary acts in Presidential Inauguration
Address by Barack Obama, hence, the researcher limit the research on Obama’s
Presidential Inauguration Address and the theory of speech acts by Searle.
1.5 The significance of the Research
The researcher hopes that this research will give more understanding
especially in the pragmatics field. On the other word, the researcher will inspire other
researcher prospective to explore deeper about the illocutionary acts area in other
According to Yule (1995: 4), pragmatics is the study of language from the
point of view of the users, especially of the choices they make, the constraints they
encounter in using language in social interaction and the effects their use of language
has on the other participants in an act of communication. Pragmatics is about how
people understand other’s thought and idea which are expressed through verbal
Furthermore, Mey (1993:42) stated that pragmatics is the study of the
conditions of human language uses as these are determined by the context of society.
Levinson (1996:21), added that pragmatics is the study of the relations between
language and context that are basic to an account of language understanding. So
pragmatics can be defined as a study talking about the relationship between language
and context, in which the contextual meaning of an utterance can be different from
the grammatical meaning.
2.2 Speech Acts
Yule (1996:47) proposes that speech acts is performed action via utterance.
Another definition from Crystal in Soekemi (1995:121) mentions that speech act is a
theory which analyses the role of utterance in relation to the behavior of speaker and
listener in interpersonal communication. In brief when speakers are saying words,
they not only produce utterance containing words and grammatical structure, but they
also perform action in those utterances.
Austin in Yule (1996:48) described kinds of acts, they are locutionary act,
illocutionary act and Perlocutionary act. As explain below:
1. Locutionary act
Locutionary act is the basic of utterance that is producing a meaningful
linguistics expression. In performing a locutionary act, a speaker uses an
identifiable expression, consisting of a sentence or fragment of sentence from
2. Illocutionary act
Illocutionary act is an act of doing something; it is uttered by the speaker that
is not only to say or state something but also it is used to ask someone else to
do something. In utterance, speaker performs an illocutionary act in using a
particular locution to refer. Such utterance has illocutionary act force of a
statement, a confirming, a denial, a prediction, a promise, a request, etc.
3. Perlocutionary act.
Perlocutionary act is an act that is uttered to affect the listener. An utterance
that is uttered by someone often has effect to the listener. Which can be
expected or unexpected affect that created by the speaker. So, in other word, a
perlocution is listener behavioral response to the meaning of the utterance, not
necessarily physical or verbal response, perhaps merely a mental or emotional
There is an example of speech acts. A child refuse to lie down and go to sleep, then
his mother says, “I’ll turn your light off”. The locutionary act is utterance of this
sentence “I’ll turn your light off”. However, the mother may be intending that the
utterance to be interpreted as a threat. The threat here is the illocutionary acts. It
means that child does not sleep, his mother will turn off the light. As consequence
behavior of that child, he must be frightened into silence and sleep is Perlocutionary
2.3 Illocutionary acts
This research emphasizes on one of the speech acts, the illocutionary acts.
According to Austin in Carrol (1999:140), the illocutionary acts is “the action that is
performed by saying the sentence”. However, this research only use the theory of
illocutionary act from Searle because the fact that this person has been successful in
developing this theory, which is originally from Austin. According to Hallion (2001:
chap 3), to give a better understanding about illocutionary acts, Searle contrast it with
Perlocutionary acts. In this explanation, an illocutionary acts “ a linguistics acts
performed in uttering certain words in a given context” while a Perlocutionary acts
is” a non-linguistics act performed as a consequence of performing the locution and
illocutionary acts”. For example, the utterance “Good Morning” is the illocutionary
acts of greeting, this illocutionary acts effects on the listener’s perception to bring a
Perlocutionary acts replying “Good Morning”. In this research, the researcher use
illocutionary acts further development.
The classification of illocutionary acts propose by Searle (1976) is a
development of ideas that appears in Austin’s theory. They are five basic kind of
action that can perform in speaking by mean of the following five types of utterance
that is developing by Yule (1996:53-54), they are:
a. Declaratives are those kinds of speech acts that change the world via their
utterance. The acts of declaratives are approving, betting, blessing,
christening, confirming, cursing, declaring, disapproving, dismissing,
naming, resigning, etc.
Example: I quit from this job resigning
b. Representatives are those kinds of speech acts that state what the speaker
believes to be case or not. The type include arguing, asserting, boasting,
claiming, complaining, criticizing, denying, describing, informing,
insisting, reporting, suggesting, swearing, etc.
Example: I met your parent yesterday informing
c. Expressives are those kinds of speech acts that state what the speakers
feel. The acts are apologizing complimenting, condoling, congratulating,
deploring, praising, regretting, thanking, etc.
Example: I like your house very much praising
d. Directives are those kinds of speech acts that the speakers use to get
someone else to do something. The acts are advising, asking, begging,
challenging, daring, demanding, forbidding, insisting, inviting, ordering,
permitting, recommending, requesting, suggesting, etc.
Example: Don’t go to the party! Forbidding
e. Commissives are those kinds’ acts that the speakers use to commit
themselves to some future action. The acts are committing, guaranteeing,
offering, promising, refusing, threatening, volunteering, vowing etc.
Example: I will be there at 5 o’clock. Promising
2.4 American Presidential inauguration
A Presidential Inauguration is that the President make an oath or
affirmation before that person can "enter on the Execution" of the office of the
The Inauguration occurs every four years in the United States, was on March 4 from
1798 until 1933. Since then, Inauguration Day has occurred on January 20 following
a Presidential election, and Inaugurations also occur in crisis situations in which the
President dies in office, forcing the Vice-President to take up the position. The
inaugural ceremonies were held at the building housing the United States Congress.
But Washington gave his first address at Federal Hall in New York City and his
second address in Congress Hall in Philadelphia. Adams also gave his in Congress
Hall in Philadelphia. Jefferson gave both of his addresses at the United States Capitol
in Washington, D.C. and all addresses since then have been given there, except for
Franklin D. Roosevelt's fourth address.
In inaugural ceremonies has been organized by the Joint Congressional
Committee and Presidential Inaugural Committee. The attendance it the ceremony
generally include Dignitaries, family and celebrity guests. There are three major
agenda in Presidential Inaugural Oaths of office, Inaugural address and Religious
element. And post-ceremony traditions are luncheon, parade and inaugural ball.
2.5 Barak Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II was born on August 4, 1961, in Hawaii. His
parents, who met as students at the University of Hawaii, were Ann Dunham, a white
American from Kansas, and Barack Obama, Sr., a black Kenyan studying in the
United States. Obama's father left the family when Obama was two and in six, his
mother remarried whit an Indonesian oil executive. The family moved to Indonesia,
and Obama spent four years attending school in the capital city of Jakarta.
He returned to Hawaii and went to high school there while living with his
maternal grandparents. Obama left Hawaii to attend Occidental College in Los
Angeles for two years. He later moved to New York City and earned a Bachelor of
Arts degree from Columbia University in 1983. In a speech given in 2008, Obama
described his thinking at the time: “… by the time I graduated from college, I was
possessed with a crazy idea — that I would work at a grassroots level to bring about
In search of his identity and a purposeful direction in life, Obama
subsequently left his job as a financial writer with an international consulting firm in
New York and headed to Chicago in 1985. There, he worked as a community
organizer for a coalition of local churches on the city’s South Side, a poor African-
American area hard hit by the transition from a manufacturing center to a service-
Obama enjoyed some tangible successes in this work, giving South Side
residents a voice in such issues as economic redevelopment, job training, and
environmental clean-up efforts. He viewed his primary role as a community
organizer, however, as that of a catalyst mobilizing ordinary citizens in a bottom-up
effort to forge indigenous strategies for political and economic empowerment.
After three years of such work, Obama concluded that to bring about true
improvement in such distressed communities required involvement at a higher level,
in the realm of law and politics. Accordingly, he attended Harvard Law School,
where he distinguished himself by being elected the first black president of the
prestigious Harvard Law Review and graduating magna cum laude in 1991. In 2000
Obama made his first run for the U.S. Congress, unsuccessfully challenging Bobby
Rush, an incumbent Democrat from Chicago, for Rush’s seat in the House of
Representatives. Dispirited by his lopsided primary loss to Rush and searching for
influence beyond the Illinois state legislature, he sold Michelle on the idea of his
running for the U.S. Senate in a last-shot “up or out strategy” to advance his political
Returning to the state senate, Obama began eyeing a 2004 race for the
U.S. Senate seat held by Peter Fitzgerald, an unpopular first-term Republican who
decided not to run for reelection. In October 2002, as Congress was considering a
resolution authorizing President George W. Bush to launch a war to depose the Iraqi
dictator Saddam Hussein, Obama spoke at an antiwar rally in Chicago. "I don't
oppose all wars," he declared. "What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am
opposed to is a rash war." By speaking out against Bush's war policies, Obama set
himself apart from the other leading candidates for the Democratic Senate
nomination, as well as from most Senate Democrats with presidential ambitions,
including Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, John Kerry of Massachusetts, and
John Edwards of North Carolina. Obama's initially unpopular antiwar stance
eventually worked to his political advantage as the war became increasingly
unpopular with the passage of time. Obama’s reputation as a new breed of politician,
one able to overcome traditional racial divides grew steadily. In a New Yorker profile
of Obama, writer William Finnegan, noting Obama’s talent at “slipping subtly into
the idiom of his interlocutor,” said Obama “speaks a full range of American
vernaculars.” Obama offered his own explanation why he could connect with white
In the Senate, Obama amassed a voting record in line with that of the
Democratic Party’s liberal wing. His criticism of the war in Iraq has been one of his
trademarks, dating back to a speech in 2002, even before the war started, when he
warned that any such military action would be based “not on principle but on
politics.” He also has worked to strengthen ethical standards in Congress, improve
care for military veterans, and increase use of renewable fuels. Advised by political
consultant David Axelrod, who had a strong record of helping black candidates win
in majority-white constituencies, Obama assembled a coalition of African Americans
and white liberals.
In addition to his election, the other highlight of 2004 for Obama was his
wildly successful keynote address at the Democratic National Convention. "There are
not a liberal America and a conservative America," he declared. "There's a United
States of America. There's not a black America and white America and Latino
America and Asian America. There's a United States of America." Obama
encapsulated his speech's themes of optimism and unity with the phrase, "the audacity
of hope," which he borrowed from Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Wright was the pastor
of Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ, a large and influential black
congregation where Obama was baptized when he became a Christian in 1988.
Obama also used the phrase as the title of his second book, The Audacity of Hope:
Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream (2006), which became a national
bestseller in the wake of his newfound national popularity.
2.6 America’s Condition before Obama Inauguration
1. Economic crisis
America. economy is currently experiencing its worst crisis since the
Great Depression. The crisis started in the home mortgage market, especially
the market for so called subprime mortgages, and is now spreading beyond
subprime to prime mortgages, commercial real estate, corporate junk bonds,
and other forms of debt. Total losses of banks could reach as high as one-
third of the total bank capital. The crisis has led to a sharp reduction in bank
lending, which in turn is causing a severe recession in the United State of
America. economy. (http://www.isreview.org/issues/64/feat-moseley.shtml).
Indicator of Economic crisis is
2. Invasion to Iraq
According to then-President of the United States George W. Bush and
the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of that time; Tony Blair, the
reasons for the invasion were "to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction
(WMD), to end Saddam Hussein's support for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi
people."According to Blair, the trigger was Iraq's failure to take a "final
opportunity" to disarm itself of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons that
U.S. and coalition officials called an immediate and intolerable threat to world
peace. The invasion of Iraq, from March 20 to May 1, 2003, was led by the
United States, backed by British forces and smaller contingents from
Australia, Spain, Poland and Denmark.