Comparative Analysis of Austin & Searle's Speech Act Theories<Tab/>

3122 Words Nov 3rd, 2002 13 Pages
Speech-act theory was elaborated by Austin J. L., a linguist philosopher; this theory was the reaction of Austin and his coworkers in opposition to the so-called logical positivist philosophers of language. Austin in contrasts to logical positivism that could be assessed in terms of 'truth' and 'falsity' ('known as truth conditional semantics'), was keen on the way regular people use language in everyday situations. Moreover, he was persuaded that we do not use language to tell only things, meaning to make statements, but also to do things, that is to perform actions (Thomas, 1995: 28-31). This is the core element of his theory.

Although, Searle accepts that the speech act is both meaningful and has conventional force, he analyses the
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The third condition refers to cases where the conduction of a marriage is completed under duress that is the threatening of one participant to take part in the wedding procedure. In addition, the absolution that a murder gets from a priest after confessing his or her crime I hereby absolve you from your sins is felicitous only when the murder turn him/herself in (Thomas, 1995: 39).

Furthermore, it has become apparent that the previous Austin's assumption that only performatives can denote actions is invalid. Therefore, the form of 'I + present simple active verb' (Coulthard, 1996: 17) is not applicable in all situations denoting actions. For example: There are performative sentences with the verb in the passive voice: Passengers are kindly requested to fasten their seatbelt; or there are utterances that contains no verbs: Guilty (uttered by the court), Out! (denoting dismissal) Quiet! (referring to noisy children and such like). Moreover, Austin noticed that there no rule-governed devices restricting the use of performatives and in fact there no linguistic features which reliably and unambiguously differentiate performatives from non-performatives (Thomas, 1995: 44). The following examples exemplify the
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