Speech Act

Speech Act



A term derived from the work of the philosopher J. L. Austin (1911-60), and now used widely in linguistics, to refer to a theory which analyses the role of utterances in relation to the behaviour of speaker and hearer in interpersonal communication. It is not an ‘act of speech’, but a communicative activity, defined with reference to the intentions of speakers while speaking (the illocutionary force of their utterances) and the effects they achieve on listeners (the perlocutionary effect of their utterances). Several categories of speech act have been proposed, viz. directives, commissives, expressives, declarations and representatives. The verb which are used to indicate the speech act intended by the speaker are sometimes known as performative verbs. The criteria which have to be satisfied in order for a speech act to be successful are known as felicity conditions.


哲学家J. L.奥斯汀(1911—1960)最早提出的术语,现广泛用于语言学,指一种结合人际信递中说话人和听话者的行为来分析话段作用的理论。“言语行为”不是“言语的行为”,而是指一种信递行为,其定义参照说话人说话时的意图(即话段的示意语力)和在听话人身上取得的效果(即话段的语效)。已经提出的言语行为的类别有:指令语、承诺语、表情语、宣告语、表信语。用来表明说话人意图的言语行为所用的动词有时称作施行动词。一个言语行为要取得成功必须满足的条件称作适宜条件。