Рефераты. Косвенные речевые акты в современном английском языке

“You are two scoundrels, of that I am sure” as a question “And

where is the Savior?”

Anecdotes often play with a wrong understanding of the

speaker’s illocutionary point by the hearer, for example:

Someone knocks at the window of a peasant’s house at 3


- Hey, you need any firewood?

- No, go away, I am sleeping.

In the morning, the peasant saw that all the firewood

disappeared from his shed.

In this funny story the peasant took the question for an

offer, and his interlocutor (hardly by mistake) took the refusal

as the answer.




не дано предугадать, как слово

наше отзовется”.


Understanding of indirect speech acts is not a man’s

inborn ability. Younger children whose communicational skills are

not yet well developed perceive only one illocutionary force of a

speech act, the one deducible from the syntactic form of an

utterance. For instance, once my four-year-old son was carrying

home a paintbrush I just bought for him. On our way home he often

dropped it. I said: “You let your brush fall a hundred times!”

meaning a directive: “Be more careful!” The boy, however, took my

words literally and replied: “Of course not, mom. I dropped it

only six times!”

Here is another example of communicational immaturity. A

boy of seven phones to his mother’s office:

- I’d like to speak to Mrs. Jones, please.

- She is out. Please call back in a few minutes.

- OK.

The boy reacted to the utterance “Please call back in a few

minutes” as to a request while the communicative situation

required answering “Thank you” (for advice) instead of “OK”.

If the hearer does not recognize the speaker’s

communicative intentions, a communicative failure will follow.

For example, asking, “Where is the department store?” one may

hear: “The department store is closed” in a situation when one

needs the department store as an orienting point.

Quite often a question is understood as a reproach, e.g.

- Why didn’t you invite him?

- Invite him yourself if you want to.

- I do not want to invite him. I am just asking.

Surprise can be taken for distrust:

- Does it really cost that much?

- Don’t you believe me?

Sociolinguistic research shows that everywhere in the

civilized world women tend to use more indirect speech acts than

men. Educated people, regardless of their sex, prefer indirect

speech acts to direct ones. Correct understanding of indirect

speech acts by an adult is an index of his or her sanity [9,90].

On balance, the question How to do things with words?

cannot be answered easily and unambiguously: just build your

utterance in accordance with certain rules or use one of the

“moulds”, and you will avoid a communication failure.

A chasm of incomplete understanding always separates

communicants, even most intimate ones, and indirect speech acts

often make it deeper. Yet, only words can bridge the chasm

conducting the thought from one shore to the other. Every time

the bridge is to be built from scratch, and choosing linguistic

means, the interactants must take into account the distance, the

“weather” conditions, the previous mistakes, both their own and

other people’s, and “the weight” of the thought to be conveyed.

Finally, the thought is worded and set off, but we can only guess

what awaits it on the other shore. We are helpless there, and our

thought is now in the hearer’s power.


Correspondence between the syntactic form of an utterance

and its pragmatic function is not always 1:1. The same syntactic

form can express various communicative intentions. On the other

hand, to express a communicative intention we can use a variety

of linguistic means. Therefore, in speech there are many

constructions used to express not the meaning fixed by the system

of language, but a secondary meaning that is conventional or

appears in a particular context. Speech acts made up by means of

such constructions are indirect. In indirect speech acts, the

speaker conveys the non-literal as well as the literal meaning,

and an apparently simple utterance may, in its implications,

count for much more. Hence, it is very important to study not

only the structure of a grammatical or lexical unit and its

meaning in the system of language, but also the pragmatic context

shaping its functioning in communication.

A number of theories try to explain why we generate

indirect speech acts and how we discover them in each other’s

speech. The inference theory brought forward by John Searle

claims that we first perceive the literal meaning of the

utterance and find some indication that the literal meaning is

inadequate. Having done that, we derive the relevant indirect

force from the literal meaning and context.

Another line of explanation developed by Jerrold Sadock is

that indirect speech acts are expressions based on an idiomatic

meaning added to their literal meaning.

Jerry Morgan writes about two types of convention in

indirect speech acts: conventions of language and conventions of

usage. Conventions of usage express what Morgan calls "short-

circuited implicatures": implicatures that once were motivated by

explicit reasoning but which now do not have to be calculated

explicitly anymore.

According to the relevance theory developed by Sperber and

Wilson, the process of interpretation of direct speech acts does

not at all differ from the process of interpretation of indirect

speech acts. Furthermore, it is literal utterances that are often

marked and sound less natural than utterances with indirect


Speech act theories have treated illocutionary acts as the

products of single utterances based on single sentences with only

one illocutionary point - thus becoming a pragmatic extension to

sentence grammars. The contribution of the illocutions of

individual utterances to the understanding of topics and episodes

is not yet well documented.

Pragmatic research reveals that the main types of indirect

speech acts are found in all natural languages. Yet, some

indirect speech acts are specific for a group of languages or

even for a particular language. Conventional indirect speech acts

must always be taken into account when learning a foreign

language. They often make the communicative center of utterances

and sound much more natural than direct speech acts.

Indirect speech acts are widely used in everyday speech, in

fiction, and in publicistic works because they influence the

quality of argumentation and amplify the impact upon the hearer’s

emotions. Indirect speech acts are the driving force of

advertisements whose illocutionary point is always a directive:

"Buy it now!"

It has been found that indirect expressives, directives

and representatives compose the most numerous group of indirect

speech acts in modern English discourse.

The use of indirect speech acts in discourse has been

studied by a number of linguists, cognitive scientists, and

philosophers, including Searle [18], [19], [43], [44], [45];

Grice [4], [30]; Ballmer [23]; Kreckel [34]; Clark [27];

Partridge [40], Cohen [28], Pocheptsov [13], Romanov [16].

Yet, the research of indirect speech acts is still far from being



Робота присвячена непрямим мовленнєвим актам у сучасному

англійському дискурсі. Непрямі мовленнєві акти – це мовленнєві дії, що

здійснюються за допомогою висловлювань, які мають дві іллокутивні сили,

тобто мовець має на увазі одночасно і пряме значення висловлювання, і

щось більше. Типові приклади непрямих мовленнєвих актів – це ввічливі

прохання у вигляді запитань або твердження у вигляді запитань (риторичні

питання). Непрямі мовленнєві акти привутні в усіх мовах, проте в кожній

мові вони мають свої особливості.

Розділи 1 - 4 є теоретичними. У них розкривається сутність

непрямих мовленнєвих актів, розглядаються причини їхньої широкої

поширеності в мовленні на прикладі англійського дискурса,

аналізуються існуючі теорії, що пояснюють механізм розуміння

співрозмовниками непрямих мовленнєвих актів, з'ясовується внесок

іллокутивної сили окремих висловлювань у процес розуміння усього


Розділи 5 - 7 мають практичний характер. У них порівнюються

конвенціональні непрямі мовленнєві акти англійської й

української мов, що використовуються в типових ситуаціях

спілкування; наводяться приклади непрямих мовленнєвих актів в

творах сучасних британських і американських авторів, газетах,

рекламних роликах; доводиться, що розуміння людиною непрямих

мовленнєвих актів є мірилом його комунікативної зрілості.

Особливо підкреслюється, що оскільки непрямі мовленнєві акти

грають істотну роль у мовному впливі на співрозмовника, в етиці,

у повсякденному спілкуванні і носять конкретномовний характер, їх

необхідно враховувати при вивченні іноземних мов.

Ключові слова: непрямий мовленнєвий акт, теорія

мовленнєвих актів, текст, дискурс, локуція, іллокуція,

перлокуція, комунікативний намір, принцип кооперації, принцип

увічливості, іллокутивна сила, мовленнєва поведінка,

комунікація, прагматика, контекст.


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