speech acts

speech acts
Acts performed when words are uttered. In his How to Do Things with Words (1962), J. L. Austin classified these acts as follows: there is the phonetic act, of making noises, the phatic act of making a grammatical sentence, and the rhetic act of saying something meaningful. These together make up the locutionary act. There is then what is done in saying something, such as threatening or praying or promising: this is the illocutionary act. Finally, sayings may produce effects on hearers, such as frightening them: these are perlocutionary acts. Austin believed that careful attention to such distinctions would illuminate or eliminate many problems of philosophy, but whilst his classification has proven useful in some circumstances, it has not had this revolutionary effect. An early and lucid recognition of the different illocutionary functions of language is Hobbes, Human Nature, xiii. 6.

Philosophy dictionary. . 2011.

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