Speech Act Theory: The Force of an Utterance

No Thumbnail Available
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Ichkalat journal
Abstract: One of the most important theories in early Pragmatics is that of Austin’s Speech Act Theory. In How to do things with words (1962), which was published posthumously, Austin uncovers the power of language in getting things done. Calling this power the FORCE of a speech act, Austin situates language within a larger enterprise of human actions. Speech Act Theory is the level of analysis that goes beyond naming entities or judging linguistic structures. By focusing on the nonliteral meaning that arises in language in use, Speech Act Theory fosters a third level of analysis to language in use. This article attempts to trace the main claims of Austin’ Speech Act Theory, with much focus on the difference between constatives and performatives. A major distinction states that while the former are either true or false, the latter are either happy or unhappy