Eliana Placencia 


Module 4: Task 2 Notes


  1. https://carla.umn.edu/speechacts/definition.html


“A speech act is an utterance that serves a function in communication. We perform speech acts when we offer an apology, greeting, request, complaint, invitation, compliment, or refusal.”


“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.”

“Speech acts are difficult to perform in a second language because learners may not know the idiomatic expressions or cultural norms in the second language or they may transfer their first language rules and conventions into the second language, assuming that such rules are universal.”

  1. https://www.thoughtco.com/indirectness-speech-and-writing-1691059

indirectness is a way of conveying a message through hints, insinuations, questions, gestures, or circumlocutions (Circumlocution is the use of unnecessarily wordy and indirect language to avoid getting to the point.) . Contrast with directness


“ indirectness is used more frequently in some cultures (for example, Indian and Chinese) than in others (North American and Northern European), and by most accounts, it tends to be used more extensively by women than by men.”


“The intention to communicate indirectly is reflected in the form of an utterance. “


“ It is possible to be indirect in several ways and to various degrees.”


“Where directness or indirectness are cultural themes, they are always language-related.”


“Indirectness may be reflected in routines for offering and refusing or accepting gifts or food.” 


“ indirectness also affects how a listener interprets the messages of others.”


“We sometimes speak indirectly; that is, we sometimes intend to perform one communicative act by means of performing another communicative act.” 


“A speaker can use the very same sentence to convey quite different messages depending on the context. This is the problem of indirection.”


It is possible that indirectness is used more in societies which are, or which have been until recently, heavily hierarchical in structure.”


“ It is possible, too, that the more frequent use by women in western societies of indirectness in conversation is due to the fact that women have traditionally had less power in these societies.”


“Directness and indirectness are encoded by linguistic features and enact competitive and cooperative meanings respectively. Men tend to use more features associated with directness, which inhibits contributions from other speakers.”


“Some linguistic forms that encode inclusiveness and collaboration are inclusive pronouns (‘we,’ ‘us,’ let’s,’ ‘shall we’), modal verbs (‘could,’ ‘might,’ ‘may’), and modalizers (‘perhaps,’ ‘maybe’). Directness involves egocentric pronouns (‘I,’ ‘me’), and absence of modalizers.” 


  1. https://www.thoughtco.com/performative-verb-1691606


In English grammar and speech-act theory, a performative verb is a verb that explicitly conveys the type of speech act being performed. 


“A speech act is an expression of intent—therefore, a performative verb, also called a speech-act verb or performative utterance, is an action that conveys intent. A speech act can be in the form of a promise, invitation, apology, prediction, vow, request, warning, insistence, forbiddance, and more. Verbs accomplishing any of these are performative verbs.”


Performative verbs used in apologies are unique because a person’s intent when apologizing is dependent on their level of authenticity.”


Hedged performatives can be used to express speech-acts with more diluted force. This type of performative features speech-act verbs used directly with supporting modifiers to achieve indirect illocutionary force.”



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