Discuss these questions with your partner What is a speech act? What is the illocutionary force of a statement? What 3 different kind of sentences can you identify? What is the difference between a direct and an indirect speech act?
What are Speech Acts? Speaking is performative -Giving orders, instructions -Making requests, suggestions -Offering advice, opinions -Taking orders, taking advice These are all ‘Speech Acts’. Utterances are functional ie. they do something.
This underlying meaning is called the illocutionary force. What is the literal meaning of these utterances? But what is the aim or intention of the utterances? Offering Promising Enquiring Requesting Exclaiming in pain Ordering It’s cold in here! Thank you for not smoking. There’s food in the frig. What do we really mean?
Sentence types Interrogative: Elicits information Declarative: Conveys information Imperative: Issues an order
Direct/ Indirect Speech Acts We don’t always mean what we say We don’t always intend what is expressed by the literal meaning (implicature, irony) Modality e.g. ‘can’ Indirect Speech Acts: “There’s beer in the fridge” “Can I help you?” “I’ll take six lemons” “Nice haircut!”
Conversational Implicature (Based on Paltridge, chapter 3)
Two types of implicature 1 – relating to the speakers – the cooperative principle (Grice, 1975) 2 – implied information
What’s wrong with this? “What did you do on Friday?” “I woke up in bed. I was in bed. I was wearing pyjamas. After lying still for a few minutes, I threw back the duvet, got out of bed, walked to the door of the bedroom, opened the door, switched on the landing light, walked across the landing, opened the bathroom door…” Can you think when this might be appropriate?
Cooperative Principle Grice came up with 4 maxims: The maxim of quality – be true The maxim of quantity – be brief The maxim of relation – be relevant The maxim of manner – be clear
Cooperative Principles – be true A: When is our assignment due? B: Well, as far as I know, we haven’t been given a date yet. We use hedges to show that we are not sure if something is totally true.
Cooperative Principles – be brief A: What did you do on Friday? B: I woke up in bed. I was in bed. I was wearing pyjamas. After lying still for a few minutes, I threw back the duvet, got out of bed, walked to the door of the bedroom, opened the door, switched on the landing light, walked across the landing, opened the bathroom door… Be informative, but don’t give too much detail. We sometimes say ‘To cut a long story short, …’
Cooperative Principles – be relevant A: How was the exam? B: The bus was late. We assume that B must relate to A. If you want to change the subject, you indicate by using discourse markers eg. ‘By the way,…’ Use ‘Anyway, as I was saying,…’ to get back to the main story
Cooperative Principles – be clear A: (opening door to neighbour) Oh hi, Mrs Jones. B: I can’t get in. My door is locked. OR A: (opening door to neighbour) Oh hi. B: Hello. I’ve just moved in next door and I can’t get in. My door is locked. I wonder if I could borrow your phone.
‘Flouting’ the principles on purpose Maxim of quality: Be true “My phone never stops ringing” “She’s got nerves of steel” “I love it when you forget to tell me you won’t be in”
‘Flouting’ the principles on purpose Maxim of relation: Be relevant A: Can I borrow your car this morning? B: It’s not insured in your name.
‘Flouting’ the principles on purpose Maxim of manner: Be clear Avoid ambiguity, obscurity. Be brief and orderly. What is the difference between 1 and 2? 1.Jack and Jill got married and had a baby. 2.Jack and Jill had a baby and got married.
Conversational Implicature How do you understand an utterance? 1.The conventional meanings of words 2.The cooperative principle & the 4 maxims 3.The linguistic and non-linguistic context of the utterance 4.Items of background knowledge 5.The fact that all of the above are available to both participants and they both assume this to be the case (interlocutors have a shared cultural knowledge)
Discuss these examples: “What’s on TV?” “Nothing” “What’s your hamburger like?” “A hamburger is a hamburger.” “What’s the time” “Half past” (it’s actually 28 past) “Did you invite Bella and Cathy?” “I invited Bella” “Did you feed the cats already?” “Do you see them hanging around?”
Discuss these examples: “What’s on TV?” “Nothing” “What’s your hamburger like?” “A hamburger is a hamburger.” “What’s the time” “Half past” (it’s actually 28 past) “Did you invite Bella and Cathy?” “I invited Bella” “Did you feed the cats already?” “Do you see them hanging around?” Flouts maxim of quality – not true Demos the maxim of quantity – don’t have to be explicit. But not true! Flouts maxim of manner – unclear Following maxims of manner and quantity so hearer infers Cathy is not invited Demos maxim of relation