The theory of speech acts, both Austin's original proposal and its subsequent developments, is indisputably of great importance in cognitive research. Nevertheless, contrary to possible expectations, the contribution of grammatical theory in proposing and developing hypotheses about the recognition and the interpretation of speech acts, such as the analysis of the linguistic features relevant to their formulation and to their interpretation, is somewhat controversial. This might seem curious, considering that these studies, which deal with problems concerning the nature of the rules and of the conventions which make our conversations effective and appropriate, almost always presuppose grammatical competence. Moreover, in many cases, the specification of the type of act performed in saying something, whether it is a question, a request for action, or a wish, has a grammatical codification: for example, grammatical considerations also play a part in interpreting certain utterances as acts of a certain type. However, the analyses of the cluster of morphosyntactic features (clitic particles, mood variation, etc.) which, without reliance on any extralinguistic context, permit the interpretation of an utterance as an assertion in a, or as a doubted question in b, or as an order in c, are instead very often unsatisfactory. The aim of this paper is to defend the importance of an adequate descriptive analysis of the set of morphosyntactic criteria which have developed around the notion of linguistic illocutionary force devices. They are intended as the (linguistic) elements that permit the interpretation of an utterance as an act of a particular kind, i.e. as a request for action, a question, an assertion, an urge, and so on. Following a tradition of research which clearly associates grammatical properties with types of speech acts, the descriptive adequacy of some of the linguistic categories most commonly adopted in the representation of the illocutionary force devices are discussed. The comparison of different languages as well as the analysis of the structure of a single language will highlight the non isomorphic correlation of one feature- one force. Moreover, an adequate description of the illocutionary force devices, or of the candidates for such a role, that is the role of giving an utterance its literal force, demands that variation be dealt with systematicallyDespite the diversity of solutions proposed, from that of Benveniste to the most recent, there has been a tendency to limit the correlation of grammatical structure and illocutionary force either to a single feature, mood, or to a combination of types or moods, excluding the phenomena of variation. The number and the importance of the phenomena of variation make it necessary to reconsider the relation between the different grammatical features, including mood, which can function as illocutionary force device. By interpreting the illocutionary force devices related to illocutionary force as clusters of grammatical features, a representation of the features required for the definition of the type, with some possible variations of the latter, has been proposed for Italian. Moreover, mood variation in different languages as well as in one language leads to a deep investigation of the character and organisation of illocutionary force features. the adequate description of the grammatical illocutionary force device, or candidates for such a role, that is for the role of giving an utterance its literal force, leads to a discussion of some of the best known positions and stipulations about the levels of representation of speech acts: the question as to whether speech acts are produced in a linguistically conventional way can be tackled after finding a more linguistically adequate description of the sentences uttered to perform speech acts, and in particular, of the features which can function as illocutionary force device. The representation of the literal force of an utterance, uniting a series of generalizations regarding form and function, permits a more precise evaluation of certain widespread theoretical positions about the integration of the linguistic level of representation (which according to the conventionality theory gives the utterance literal force) with other levels of representation. The evaluation of the theories proposed and their principles will be possible only after taking into consideration their truly linguistic parts: these are positive in the theory of the linguistic conventionality of speech acts, but negative in that of linguistic non-conventionality.

"O "Naklonenija" kak prisnakah pokazateli illokutivnoj sily rechevyh aktov", (On 'Moods' as Features of Illocutionary Devices in Speech Acts)

FAVA, Elisabetta
1998

Abstract

The theory of speech acts, both Austin's original proposal and its subsequent developments, is indisputably of great importance in cognitive research. Nevertheless, contrary to possible expectations, the contribution of grammatical theory in proposing and developing hypotheses about the recognition and the interpretation of speech acts, such as the analysis of the linguistic features relevant to their formulation and to their interpretation, is somewhat controversial. This might seem curious, considering that these studies, which deal with problems concerning the nature of the rules and of the conventions which make our conversations effective and appropriate, almost always presuppose grammatical competence. Moreover, in many cases, the specification of the type of act performed in saying something, whether it is a question, a request for action, or a wish, has a grammatical codification: for example, grammatical considerations also play a part in interpreting certain utterances as acts of a certain type. However, the analyses of the cluster of morphosyntactic features (clitic particles, mood variation, etc.) which, without reliance on any extralinguistic context, permit the interpretation of an utterance as an assertion in a, or as a doubted question in b, or as an order in c, are instead very often unsatisfactory. The aim of this paper is to defend the importance of an adequate descriptive analysis of the set of morphosyntactic criteria which have developed around the notion of linguistic illocutionary force devices. They are intended as the (linguistic) elements that permit the interpretation of an utterance as an act of a particular kind, i.e. as a request for action, a question, an assertion, an urge, and so on. Following a tradition of research which clearly associates grammatical properties with types of speech acts, the descriptive adequacy of some of the linguistic categories most commonly adopted in the representation of the illocutionary force devices are discussed. The comparison of different languages as well as the analysis of the structure of a single language will highlight the non isomorphic correlation of one feature- one force. Moreover, an adequate description of the illocutionary force devices, or of the candidates for such a role, that is the role of giving an utterance its literal force, demands that variation be dealt with systematicallyDespite the diversity of solutions proposed, from that of Benveniste to the most recent, there has been a tendency to limit the correlation of grammatical structure and illocutionary force either to a single feature, mood, or to a combination of types or moods, excluding the phenomena of variation. The number and the importance of the phenomena of variation make it necessary to reconsider the relation between the different grammatical features, including mood, which can function as illocutionary force device. By interpreting the illocutionary force devices related to illocutionary force as clusters of grammatical features, a representation of the features required for the definition of the type, with some possible variations of the latter, has been proposed for Italian. Moreover, mood variation in different languages as well as in one language leads to a deep investigation of the character and organisation of illocutionary force features. the adequate description of the grammatical illocutionary force device, or candidates for such a role, that is for the role of giving an utterance its literal force, leads to a discussion of some of the best known positions and stipulations about the levels of representation of speech acts: the question as to whether speech acts are produced in a linguistically conventional way can be tackled after finding a more linguistically adequate description of the sentences uttered to perform speech acts, and in particular, of the features which can function as illocutionary force device. The representation of the literal force of an utterance, uniting a series of generalizations regarding form and function, permits a more precise evaluation of certain widespread theoretical positions about the integration of the linguistic level of representation (which according to the conventionality theory gives the utterance literal force) with other levels of representation. The evaluation of the theories proposed and their principles will be possible only after taking into consideration their truly linguistic parts: these are positive in the theory of the linguistic conventionality of speech acts, but negative in that of linguistic non-conventionality.
Fava, Elisabetta
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11392/1202943
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