Speech Act Theory ●Speech Act – an utterance made by a speaker to perform a variety of actions Forms: 1. Direct Speech Act (DSA) – syntactic form of the utterance is the same as its intent (form matches intent) e.g. Pass me a pack of paper clips, please! (imperative, for an order/request)
Question 1: Speech Act Theory 2. Indirect Speech Act (ISA) – the linguistic form of the utterance is NOT the same as its intent (form doesn’t match intent) e.g. Can you pass me a pack of paper clips, please? (interrogative for an order/request)
Question 1: Speech Act Theory Performative Verb (PV) o A type of perlocutionary declarative utterance (related to Searle’s ‘declaration’ speech act) o Speech acts in the most literal possible sense - Saying the thing IS in ITSELF literally doing something e.g. I hereby pronounce you man and wife. WHY?
Declaratives with locutionary force must have the following CONDITIONS: must occur in the appropriate situational context be spoken the appropriate person affirmative declarative in the present tense Question 1: Speech Act Theory
e.g. I hereby pronounce you man and wife. (said by a priest to a couple at a wedding ceremony in church) occurs in the appropriate situational context (marriage ceremony in church) spoken the appropriate person (the priest who has the rightful powers to do so) affirmative declarative in the present tense Question 1: Speech Act Theory
a) Question DSA With PV – I hereby ask you who made the cupcakes. (interrogative used for a question) DSA Without PV – Who made the cupcakes? (interrogative used for a question) ISA – I wonder who made the cupcakes. (declarative is used for a question)
Question 1: Speech Act Theory b) Request DSA With PV – I request for your prayers during this difficult time. (imperative is used for a request) DSA Without PV – Kindly keep our family in your prayers during this difficult time. (imperative is used for a request) ISA – Could you keep my family in your prayers, please? (interrogative is used for a request)
Question 1: Speech Act Theory c) Promise DSA With PV – I promise to be a good husband. (a declarative used for a commissive) DSA Without PV – You have my word that I will be a good husband. (a declarative used for a commissive) ISA – Will you take my word that I will be a good husband to you? (an interrogative used for a commissive) Other e.g. Do you mind waiting till next week? (an interrogative used for a commissive)
Question 2: Gricean Maxims of Conversation
Professor A: “He’s so well spoken that you can get lulled into thinking that you believe him. Then, after a while, you start to realize that most of what he’s saying is just unfounded opinion. He never backs up his statements with anything factual.” Maxim(s) flouted ❏ Maxim of Quality Explanation Professor A’s words lack adequate evidence to be substantiated.
Question 2: Gricean Maxims of Conversation Professor B: “Her lectures are really hard to understand. I think that she knows what she’s talking about, but she uses all this complicated vocabulary, and she never defines any of the words. Plus, every sentence is about a million words long, and by the time you figure out what it meant, she’s giving you another sentence that’s even more complicated! Aiyoh.” Maxim(s) flouted ❏ Maxim of Manner ❏ Maxim of Quantity Explanation Professor B is ambiguous in her teaching - no definitions + complicated vocabulary. Also, she constructs incredibly long sentences - says more than what is necessary for students to get her.
Question 2: Gricean Maxims of Conversation Professor C: “His classes are hard to follow because he goes off on so many tangents. He’ll be talking about Russian politics one minute, and then he’ll veer off to tell us something about democracy in Ancient Greece. Then he’ll get back to the Russian politics only to interrupt himself with a story about what his son did at breakfast this morning! OMG.” Maxim(s) flouted ❏ Maxim of Manner ❏ Maxim of Relation Explanation Professor C’s classes lack order on top of relevance.
Question 2: Gricean Maxims of Conversation Professor D: “I feel as though she never gives us thorough answers to our questions. For example, I asked her yesterday why we shiver when we’re cold. All she said was ‘because you’re warm-blooded,’ and then she went on with her lecture. I already knew that people are warm-blooded, but I don’t know what this has to do with shivering. Damn it!” Maxim(s) flouted ❏ Maxim of Quantity ❏ Maxim of Manner Why not Maxim of Relation? Explanation Professor D “under-explains” - her explanations lack thoroughness and clarity. The cause of shivering entails warm-bloodedness; what she said isn't entirely unrelated.
Question 3: Pragmatic Competence
Question 3: Pragmatic competence The mother is busy preparing dinner, and tells the child: Go ask your uncle what he wants to drink. The child runs to the living room where the uncle is relaxing, and doesn’t come back. After a good 15 minutes, the mother checks with the uncle, who says: Yeah, she did come to me and said “Uncle, uncle, what you want to drink?”, then she disappeared towards her bedroom.
Question 3: Pragmatic competence Defining illocution and perlocution (a) Illocution- illocutionary utterances that have communicative intent, done with the intention to do a certain action. Eg. from lecture: I respect Ai a lot.
(b) Perlocution- perlocutionary utterances have behavioural consequences on the hearer (ie. hearer will take action in response), with the intention to get your hearer to do something. Eg. from lecture: I am hungry--- said with intention of getting your hearer to get food for you. Eg. I haven’t eaten since this morning. Question 3: Pragmatic competence Defining illocution and perlocution
Question 3: Pragmatic competence Mum’s statement ‘Go ask your uncle what he wants to drink.’ is a perlocution. She said it with the intention of getting her daughter to ask her uncle what drink he wants and then geting back to her. However, the 2-year-old daughter who has a relatively low communicative competence sees this as an imperative illocutionary utterance in which her mum orders her to go ask her uncle what drink he wanted, without interpreting the perlocutionary force intended by her mother (ie. To get back to her mother. )
Question 3: Pragmatic competence
Qn 4: Pragmatic analysis of apology in Singapore
Anton Casey’s public apology
a) Source and written script Dear sir, I would like to extend a sincere apology to the people of Singapore. In the past 24 hours due to a recent chain of events, which include my misguided attempt at humour, a security breach of my personal Facebook page and the misuse of an old video by unknown sources, my family, especially, my five-year-old son has suffered extreme emotional and verbal abuse online. It must be made extremely clear that a YouTube video of me, with my son in the background was not posted in response to any recent events. This video was made weeks prior and has been misused to portray me as unrepentant. Police investigation into this matter, including receiving death threats, is ongoing. I have offended and disrespected the people of Singapore, my family - especially my five-year-old son. He is an innocent party to this unfortunate and extremely stressful situation. I wish for nothing more than to be forgiven for my poor judgement and given a second chance to rebuild the trust people had in me as a resident of this City – specifically for my family. Regards, Anton S Casey
b) Is the apology effective overall? NO … c) Why not? Felicity conditions for apology - Admission of fault - Sincere expression of remorse - Promise of non-recurrence
c) Why is the apology not effective? x More description of actions rather than addmission of fault (see underlined statements) x His apology can be interpreted to carry more obligation than remorse (statement in red)
Possible alternative? “It was my fault for making a misguided attempt at humour.’’ Underlying implication- aware of his mistakes and the consequences. In contrast, when he merely described his behavior, it shows that he was aware of his actions but he did not think that he was wrong. c) Why is the apology not effective?
Cont’d Universal felicity conditions by using present tense and writing as a first person subject x Showed little expression of remorse. (I regret, I sincerely apologize…) x Failed to make a promise of non-recurrence. xAttempt to convey a ‘sincere’ apology backfires when one reads the rest of the letter and realizes how insincere his apology was due to the abovementioned elements that were missing.
Cont’d Overall… Focus of Casey’s apology attempt seems more like a plea rather than an apology where he should have admitted his mistakes, showed remorse and promised never to let it happen again.