Week 4 illocutionary acts

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Week 4 illocutionary acts

  1. 1. Pragmatics: speech-acts<br />What is a Speech Act?<br />A speech act is an utterance that serves a function in communication. A speech act might contain just one word, as in "Sorry!" to perform an apology, or several words or sentences: "I’m sorry I forgot your birthday. I just let it slip my mind." Speech acts include real-life interactions and require not only knowledge of the language but also appropriate use of that language within a given culture.<br />
  2. 2. Types of speech-acts<br />Here are some examples of speech acts we use or hear every day:<br />Greeting:   "Hi, Eric. How are things going?"<br />Request:   "Could you pass me the mashed potatoes, please?"<br />Complaint:   "I’ve already been waiting three weeks for the computer, and I was told it would be delivered within a week."<br />Invitation:   "We’re having some people over Saturday evening and wanted to know if you’d like to join us."<br />Compliment:   "Hey, I really like your tie!"<br />Refusal:   "Oh, I’d love to see that movie with you but this Friday just isn’t going to work."<br />
  3. 3. Cultural sensitivities<br />Sarah: "I couldn’t agree with you more. “ (Amercain)<br />Cheng: "Hmmm…." (Thinking: "She couldn’t agree with me? I thought she liked my idea!")<br />(Chinese)<br />Exercice: Can you think of any in Arabic culture compared with western culture?<br />
  4. 4. Loctionary-illocutioanry-perlocutionary<br />Locutionary speech-act<br />Def. In speech-act theory, the act of making a meaningful utterance.<br />Etymology:<br /><ul><li>Term introduced by John L. Austin in How to Do Things With Words (1962)</li></ul>Examples and Observations:<br />"The act of 'saying something' in the full normal sense.<br />"In performing a locutionary act we shall also be performing such an act as:<br />asking or answering a question; <br />giving some information or an assurance or a warning; <br />announcing a verdict or an intention; <br />pronouncing sentence; <br />making an appointment or an appeal or a criticism; <br />making an identification or giving a description;<br />
  5. 5. ILLOCUTIONARY ACT<br /> Definition:<br />In speech-act theory, a speaker's intention in delivering an utterance.<br />Example:<br />Kenneth Parcell: I'm sorry, Mr. Jordan. I'm just overworked. With my page duties and being Mr. Donaghy's assistant, there's not enough hours in the day.<br />Tracy Jordan: I'm sorry about that. But just let me know if there's any way I can help.<br />Kenneth: Actually, there is one thing. . . .<br />Tracy: No! I was just saying that! Why can't you read human facial cues?(Matthew Hubbard, "Cutbacks," 30 Rock, April 9, 2009)<br />
  6. 6. "Achieving pragmatic competence involves the ability to understand the illocutionary force of an utterance, that is, what a speaker intends by making it. This is particularly important in cross-cultural encounters since the same form (e.g. 'When are you leaving?') can vary in its illocutionary force depending on the context in which it is made (e.g. 'May I have a ride with you?' or 'Don't you think it is time for you to go?')."(Sandra Lee McKay, Teaching English as an International Language. Oxford Univ. Press, 2002)<br />"When I say 'how are you' to a co-worker, I really mean hello. Although I know what I mean by 'how are you,' it is possible that the receiver does not know that I mean hello and actually proceeds to give me a fifteen minute discourse on his various maladies."(George Ritzer, Sociology: A Multiple Paradigm Science. Allyn & Bacon, 1980)<br />
  7. 7. Perlocutionary act<br />Perlocutionary act<br />Definition:<br /> A perlocutionary act is a speech act that produces an effect, intended or not, achieved in an addressee by a speaker’s utterance.<br />Examples Here are some examples of perlocutionary acts:<br />Persuading<br />Convincing<br />Scaring<br />Insulting<br />Getting the addressee to do something<br />
  8. 8. Conceptual and associative meaning<br />Conceptual<br />Conceptual: it covers basic meaning or essential components of the word, the literal meaning of a word.<br />Example: “needle”, means thin, sharp, steel instrument.<br />Associative meaning: linking the word with ‘pain’, ‘illness’<br />
  9. 9. Exercice<br />Give the conceptual and associative meanings for the following words:<br />Alcohol:<br />Gambling:<br />Drugs:<br />House:<br />
  10. 10. Semantic features<br />Consider the following examples:<br />The hamburger ate the boy<br />The table listens to the radio<br />The horse is reading the newspaper<br />What do these sentences share in common?<br />
  11. 11. These sentences ate not semantically correct.<br />NP V NP<br />The hamburger ate the boy<br />The sentence is syntactically good, but semantically odd. WHY?<br />
  12. 12. The noun hamburger does not have the same semantic property as the noun boy<br />To differentiate the meaning, we would choose the following criteria:<br />(+) animate: denotes animal or human<br /> and (-) for inanimate: denotes non-human, non-animal<br />
  13. 13. Semantic features<br />
  14. 14.
  15. 15. So what does this all mean?<br />Example:<br />The _____________is reading the newspaper.<br />The ‘doer’ of the action, in this case a noun, must have the following property in terms of semantic roles:<br />N [+human]<br />This method allows us to identify which sentences are semantically odd, or unacceptable.<br />
  16. 16. Exercices<br />Find the likely subjects in the following sentences:<br />The ------------------is driving the car.<br />I saw a -------------flying in the sky. (eagle)<br />I need a ------------to write this letter.<br />
  17. 17. Semantic roles<br />Instead of looking at words as containers of meanings, we can see them as having ‘roles’ fulfilling the situation the sentence is describing.<br />For instance: the boy kicked the ball. We see the verb ‘kick’ as describing an action, we can see the doer of the action, as agent.<br />

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