Austin's Theory Of Illocutionary Acts

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The first pioneer who introduces the theory of Speech Acts is Austin. He states that we do not use language just to 'say' things, but to 'do' things. This led him to a theory of what he called 'Illocutionary Acts' (IA); a theory which examines what we 'do' when we speak, how we do them and how these acts succeed or fail. According to him, the basic unit of study is not the word or the sentence, but the act which a person performs through the use of words and sentences. so acts, such as, warning, advising, promising, apologizing, and so on, are called speech acts. (Cooper 1973: 190). Austin shows some distinctions or dichotomies In the process of formulating his theory: i) Constatives and Performatives: Austin makes a distinction…show more content…
C. (i) the persons must have the requisite thoughts, feelings and intentions, as specified in the procedure, and (ii) if the consequent conduct is specified, then the relevant parties must do so. Violation of this condition for instance, if someone promises to do something , but he has no intention to do it. (Austin ,1962:14-15). ii) Explicit and Implicit Performatives: Austin left the constative/performative dichotomy, since he realized that all kinds of utterances are performatives, instead he suggested another distinction between explicit and implicit perforamtives(Austin 1962: 69). Explicit performatives, contain performative verb, and the speech act being performed here becomes specific. Thomas (1995:47), states that an explicit performative can be considered as "a mechanism which allows the speaker to remove any possibility of misunderstanding the force behind an utterance". The speech act of promising in English, for example, can be shown as: 11. I'll be there at two o'clock. (implicit performative) 12. I promise to be there at two o'clock. (Explicit…show more content…
(Austin 1962: 120). 3.2.1.1 Austin classification of speech act In terms of their illocutionary forces Austin (1962: 151), distinguishes five classes of performative : 1. Verdictives: Austin (1975:151) indicates that this class is "typified by the giving of a verdict, as the name implies, by a jury, arbitrator, or umpire .The verbs of this class need not be final; they may be, for example, an estimate, reckoning, or appraisal" This class of verb is used to give verdicts, or judgements, such as estimate, assess, appreciate, value, characterize etc. for example: 17. I estimate forty dollars. 2. Excercitives: This class is defined by Austin (1975:151) as "the giving of a decision in favor of or against a certain course of action or advocacy of it''. This class of verbs shows exercise of powers, influence or rights such as dedicate, order, dismiss, name, appoint, claim, sentence etc. For example, 18. You are fired. The employer's power of dismissing his

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