Speech act, speech action and communicative function of an utterance
A B S T R A C T
The article deals with the meaning and mutual relations of the terms speech act, speech action (Sprachhandlung) and communicative function of an utterance. The author’s goal is to determine whether they can be considered synonymous. While the term speech act is synonymous with ‘illocutionary act’, the conceptual meaning of the other two terms differs. Though it is difficult to draw a sharp line between a speech act and a speech action/behavior, time span and demarcation (boundaries) are differentiating criteria. The most important distinguishing criterion is the concept of language (speech) behavior, which can be viewed not as a singular event (act), but rather as a complex event consisting of mutually mixed acts or as a continuum (sequence) of sub-acts resulting in one macro-act. A speech act is a static unit, received and comprehended as a result of dynamic speech action (activity), seen as a process without sharp boundaries. A speech act can be a constituent of a speech action, but not vice-versa. Any given language utterance operates on several levels of communication simultaneously, and each of these operations can be seen as a communicative function. When describing a communicative function, it is necessary to distinguish which respective level of communication is being analyzed.
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Katedra bohemistiky FF UP
Křížkovského 10, 771 80 Olomouc
Slovo a slovesnost, ročník 65 (2004), číslo 3, s. 163-173
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