Investigating language

Páginas: 14 (3374 palabras) Publicado: 31 de diciembre de 2011
Investigating Language: Language Study

By Gonzalo Varas Tapia

Task 1: Pragmatics

Speech act Theory

Speech acts is the language used to talk, to express opinion about facts or just to make any intervention in the ordinary life.

According to Austin (1975) in the speech act there are 3 parts to be considered.

1. Locution “is the basic act of utterance, or producing a meaningfullinguistic expression” (Yule 1996:48) It is the act of saying exactly something in the complete sense of “saying” i.e. to emit and use the voice to produce words, phrases, and sentences. Text 1, line 1 “Is that your paper?”

2. “The illocution is what the speaker is doing by uttering those words: Commanding, offering, promising, threatening, thinking, etc.” (Peccei. 1999:44) It is theintention of the speaker through his or her utterance. Using the same example given above, speaker A asks “Is that your paper?” without the intention to know who the owner of the paper is, but rather, the intention of the speaker is borrowing the paper.

a. Direct and indirect

John Searle (1969) argues that acts can be described in two levels: direct and indirect. On the one hand, direct iswhen the speaker´s intention is completely understand by the recipient. The utterance is clear and it does not need any kind of explanation. In text 3, line 1, speaker “C” asks her friends “Does anybody want a chocolate bar or anything?” In this case, the utterance clearly reflects what the speaker wants to say. The immediate answers given by speaker A and B “Oh. Yeah. Please.” And “Oh. Yes.Please.” Support this idea.

On the other hand, indirect is when the message is not completely clear, this one could be misunderstood by the recipient. There is not any example of this in the texts, but an utterance like: “See you tomorrow morning” expresses this idea in a clear way because it is not clarified what time the speaker will see his friend. Morning is a long period of time.

3.Perlocution is the result of saying something. Peccei (1999:44) describes it as “the actual result of the locution. It may or may not be what the speaker wants to happen”
A clear instance to show this is in the case of Text 2, line 1, where Prof A asks Prof B “Would you like to call me back?” What Prof B understood of this question was that Prof A wanted to be called later by him, the answer “No,that´s okay; I don´t have much more to say.” Confirm this idea. However, the intention of Prof A´s utterance was completely different because what he wanted was to be called from Prof B´s place (his office in the university) in order to use university money instead of his money.

Politeness theory

In our daily life, we use different kinds of utterances to obtain what we want. But, this doesnot mean we always use the same language. On the contrary, our conversations are affected by the social status. We do not speak to our boss in the same way we speak to our closer friends.

1. Face

According to Goffman (1955:213) “face is an image of self delineated in terms of approved social attributes” Brown and Levinson built up this idea by developing 2 aspects:

a. Positive face:It is when we say things to be accepted by others, It is “a person´s wish to be well thought of. Its manifestations may include the desire to have others admire what we value” (Grundy 2008:195)

b. Negative face:

This is our “need to be independent, to have freedom of actions, and not to be imposed on by others” (Yule 1996:61)

2. Face threatening acts:

According to Brown andLevinson, a face threatening act is when a person´s face is in risk, i.e. when we say something that could threat somebody´s face. A question like “Is that your paper?” from text 1, line one, is a good example of this. To compensate this, speakers use politeness.

3. On record and off record

When someone says an utterance this one could be classified between “on record” and “off record.”...
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