Indirect speech acts in modern English discourse. - Косвенные речевые акты в современном английском дискурсе




      2.1. The cooperative principle…………………………………………….7
      2.2. The theory of politeness ……………………………………………...8

         AND “DECIPHER” THEIR MEANING?…………………………….10
      3.1. The inference theory………………………………………………...10
      3.2. Indirect speech acts as idioms?…………………………………...…12
      3.3. Other approaches to the problem……………………………………13


         ENGLISH DISCOURSE………..…………………………………….18
      6.1. Fiction………………………………………………………………18
      6.2. Publicism……………………………………………………………20
      6.3. Advertising………………………………………………………….21
      6.4. Anecdotes…………………………………………………………...21







“A great deal can be said in the study of

 language without studying speech acts,

 but any such purely formal theory is

 necessarily incomplete. It would be as if

baseball were studied only as a formal

system of rules and not as a game.”

         John Rogers Searle

      In the late 1950s, the Oxford philosopher John Austin  gave
some lectures on how speakers  “do  things  with  words”  and  so
invented a theory of “speech acts” [10, 40]  which  now  occupies
the central place in pragmatics (pragmatics is the study  of  how
we use language to communicate in a particular context).   Austin
highlighted the initial contrast between the constative  and  the
performative. While constatives  describe  a  state  of  affairs,
performatives (explicit and implicit) have the potential to bring
about a change in some state of affairs.  Classical  examples  of
performatives include the naming of a ship, the  joining  of  two
persons in marriage, and the  sentencing  of  a  criminal  by  an
authorised person. Austin distinguished between the locution of a
speech act (the words uttered), its illocution (the intention  of
the speaker in making the utterance)  and  its  perlocution  (its
effects, intended or otherwise).  Whereas  constatives  typically
have truth conditions to comply with, speech  acts  must  satisfy
certain “felicity conditions” in order to  count  as  an  action:
there must be a conventional  procedure;  the  circumstances  and
people must be  appropriate;   the  procedure  must  be  executed
correctly and  completely;  often,  the  persons  must  have  the
requisite thoughts, feelings, etc.
      John Austin’s theory of  speech  acts  was  generalized  to
cover all utterances by a student of Austin's, John Rogers Searle
[43, 69]. Searle showed that we perform speech acts every time we
speak. For example, asking “What's the time?” we  are  performing
the speech  act  of  making  a  request.   Turning  an  erstwhile
constative into an explicit performative looks like this: “It  is
now ten o’clock” means “I hereby pronounce  that  it  is  ten  o’
clock in the morning.”
         In such a  situation,  the  original  constative  versus
performative  distinction  becomes  untenable:  all   speech   is
performative.  The  important  distinction  is  not  between  the
performative and the constative, but between the different  kinds
of speech acts  being  performed,  that  is  between  direct  and
indirect speech acts.  Searle's hypothesis was that  in  indirect
speech acts, the speaker communicates the non-literal as well  as
the literal meaning to the hearer.  This new pragmatic trend  was
named   intentionalism because it takes into account the  initial
intention of the speaker and its interpretation by the hearer.
      Actuality of research:
      The problem  of  indirect  speech  acts  has  got  a  great
theoretical meaning for analysis of the form/function relation in
language: the same form performs more than  one  function.     To
generate  an  indirect  speech  act,  the  speaker  has  to   use
qualitatively different types of knowledge, both  linguistic  and
extralinguistic (interactive and encyclopaedic), as well  as  the
ability to reason  [45, 97]. A number of theories try to  explain
why we make indirect speech acts and how we understand their non-
literal meaning,  but  the  research  is  still  far  from  being
      The practical value of research lies in the fact that it is
impossible to reach a high level of linguistic competence without
understanding the nature of  indirect  speech  acts  and  knowing
typical indirect speech acts of a particular language.
      The tasks of research:
analysis of the theories on indirect speech acts;
finding out  why  interlocutors  generate  indirect  speech  acts
instead of saying exactly what they mean;
comparing  typical  indirect  speech  acts  in  English  and   in
providing  examples  of   indirect   speech   acts   in   various
communicational situations.
      The object of research is a speech act as a communicational
action that speakers perform by saying things in a certain way in
a certain context.
      The subject of research is an indirect speech  act  as  the
main way in which the semantic content of a sentence can fail  to
determine the full force and content  of  the  illocutionary  act
being performed in using the sentence.
      Methods of research include critical analysis of scientific
works on the  subject,  analysis  of  speech  of  native  English
speakers  in  various  communicational  situations,  analysis  of
speech behavior of literary personages created by modern  British
and American writers.


“Communication is successful not when

hearers recognize the linguistic meaning of the

utterance, but when they infer the speaker's

meaning from it.”

              Dan Sperber and Deidre Wilson

      Most of what human  beings  say  is  aimed  at  success  of
perlocutionary  acts,  but  because  perlocutionary  effects  are
behavioural, cognitive,  or  emotional  responses  they  are  not
linguistic objects. What linguists can properly look at, however,
are  the  intentions  of  speakers   to   bring   about   certain
perlocutionary effects which are called illocutionary intentions.

      The basis of a speech act is  the  speaker’s  intention  to
influence the hearer in a  desired  way.  The  intention  can  be
manifested and latent.  According  to  O.G.  Pocheptsov  [13,74],
latent  intentions  cannot  be  linguistically   analyzed   while
manifested intentions can be divided into evident and  inferable.
The illocutinary intention of indirect speech acts is inferable.
        Three  broad  illocutionary   categories   are   normally
identified – a statement, a  question  and  a  command/request  -
having typical realisations  in  declarative,  interrogative  and
imperative verb forms. But sometimes  the  syntactic  form  of  a
sentence is not a good guide to the  act  it  is  performing.  In
indirect speech acts the agreement between the intended  function
and the realised form breaks down, and the outward  (locutionary)
form of an  utterance  does  not  correspond  with  the  intended
illocutionary force of the speech  act  which  it  performs  [37,
263]. In indirection a single utterance is the performance of one
illocutionary act by way of performing another.  Indirect  speech
acts have two illocutionary forces [45, 195].
      Searle’s classical example of an indirect speech act is the
utterance  “Can  you  pass  the  salt?”  Without   breaking   any
linguistic norms we can regard it as a general question and  give
a yes/no answer.  But  most  often  hearers  interpret  it  as  a
request.    Likewise, the utterance “There's a fly in your  soup”
may be a simple assertion but, in a context,  a  warning  not  to
drink the soup. The question “What's the time?” might,  when  one
is looking for an excuse to get rid of  an  unwelcome  guest,  be
intended  as  a  suggestion  that   the   guest   should   leave.
Analogously, the statement “I wouldn't do this if I were you” has
the congruent force of an imperative: “Don't do it!”
      In his works Searle gives  other  interesting  examples  of
indirect speech acts: Why don’t you be quiet? It would be a  good
idea if you gave me the money now. How many times have I told you
(must I  tell  you)  not  to  eat  with  your  fingers?  I  would
appreciate it if you could make  less  noise.  In  some  contexts
these utterances  combine  two  illocutionary  forces  and  sound
idiomatic, even though they are not idioms in the proper sense of
the term.   Each  utterance  contains  an  imperative  (secondary
illocution) realized by  means  of  a  question  or  a  statement
(primary illocution).
      Paul  Grice  illustrates  indirectness  by  the   following
utterances [4, 22]: “There is a garage around the corner” used to
tell someone where to get petrol, and “Mr. X's command of English
is excellent, and his attendance has been  regular”,  giving  the
high points in a letter of recommendation. A simple example of an
indirect speech act gives B.Russel: “When parents  say  ‘Puddle!’
to their child, what they mean is  ‘Don’t  step  into  it!’  [41,
195].  These  are   examples  in  which  what  is  meant  is  not
determined by what is said.
       We can make a request or give permission by way of  making
a statement, e.g. by uttering “I  am  getting  thirsty.”  or  “It
doesn't matter to me.” We can make a statement or give  an  order
by way  of  asking  a  question,  such  as  “Will  the  sun  rise
tomorrow?” or “Can you clean up your room?” When an illocutionary
act is performed indirectly, it is performed by way of performing
some other one directly.
      It has been found that indirect expressives, directives and
representatives compose  the  most  numerous  group  of  indirect
speech acts [11, 23].
      The study of indirect speech acts  has  mostly  dealt  with
requests in various guises. Jerrold  M.  Sadock  identified  some
exotic species: “whimperatives” - indirect requests in  the  form
of a question, e.g. “Can't you (please) do  something?”  and  “Do
something, will you?”;  “queclaratives” -  the  speaker  directly
questions and indirectly makes an assertion: “Does  anyone  do  A
any more?” meaning "Nobody does A any  more";  “requestions”  are
quiz questions to  which  the  speaker  knows  the  answer,  e.g.
Columbus discovered America in ...? [42, 168].
      Summarizing, we can say that indirection is the main way in
which the semantic content of a sentence can  fail  to  determine
the full  force  and  content  of  the  illocutionary  act  being
performed in using the sentence.


“Everything   that    is    worded    too    directly    nowadays

the risk of being socially condemned.”

                                       Ye. Klyuev

                       2.1. The cooperative principle
               An insight  into  indirectness  is  based  on  the
Cooperative  Principle  developed  by  Paul  Grice  [4,   14-76]:
language  users  tacitly  agree  to  cooperate  by  making  their
contributions to the conversation to further it  in  the  desired
direction. Grice  endeavoured  to  establish  a  set  of  general
principles explaining how language users convey indirect meanings
(so-called conversational implicatures,  i.e.  implicit  meanings
which have to be inferred from what is being said explicitly,  on
the basis of logical  deduction).  Adherence  to  this  principle
entails that speakers simultaneously observe 4 maxims:
       1) Maxim of Quality:
      - Do not say what you believe to be false.
      - Do not say that for which you lack adequate evidence.
      2) Maxim of Relevance:
           - Be relevant.
      3) Maxim of Quantity:
           - Make your contribution as informative as required.
           - Do not make your contribution more informative than
is required.
      4) Maxim of Manner:
           - Avoid obscurity of expression.
           - Avoid ambiguity.
           - Be brief.
           - Be orderly.
      This general description of the normal expectations we have
in conversations helps to explain a number of regular features in
the way people say things. For instance, the  common  expressions
"Well, to make a long story short" or "I won't bore you with  the
details" indicate an awareness of  the  maxims  of  quantity  and
manner. Because we assume that other speakers are following these
maxims, we often draw inferences based on this assumption.
      At   one   level,   cooperative   behaviour   between   the
interactants means  that  the  conversational  maxims  are  being
followed; but at another and more  important  level,  cooperative
behaviour still operates even if the  conversational  maxims  are
apparently broken.   For instance, when the speaker blatantly and
openly  says  something  which  appears  to  be  irrelevant   and
ambiguous (flouts the maxims of relevance and manner), it can  be
assumed that  s/he really intends to communicate something  which
is relevant and unambiguous, but does so implicitly:
      “ - I don't suppose you could manage tomorrow evening?
        - How do you like to eat?
                  - Actually I rather enjoy cooking myself.”  [J.
      The second remark, instead of  being  a  direct  answer  (a
statement), is a question formally not connected with  the  first
remark.  The maxims of relevance  and  manner  are  flouted.  The
inferable  implicature  is:   “Yes,   I   can.”Analogously,   the
implication of the third remark is inferred:  “I  invite  you  to
have           dinner           at           my           place.”

        If we were forced to draw only logical  inferences,  life
would be a lot more difficult. Conversations  would  take  longer
since we would have to say things which reasonable language-users
currently infer.
      Searle adds one more conversational maxim [45, 126]: “Speak
idiomatically unless you have a reason not  to.”  He  exemplifies
this maxim like this: if we say archaically “Knowest thou him who
calleth  himself  Richard  Nixon?”   (not   idiomatically),   the
utterance will not be perceived as a usual question “Do you  know
Richard Nixon?”
        An important difference between implicatures and what  is
said directly  is  that  the  speaker  can  always  renounce  the
implicatures  s/he  hinted  at.  For  example,   in   “Love   and
friendship” by A.Lourie the protagonist answers to a lady  asking
him to keep her secret: “A gentleman never talks of such things”.
Later the lady finds out that he did let out her secret, and  the
protagonist justifies himself saying:  “I  never  said  I  was  a
        Implicatures put a question of insincerity and  hypocrisy
people resort to by means of a language (it is not by chance that
George Orwell introduced the word “to double speak” in his  novel
“1984”). No doubt,  implicatures  are  always  present  in  human
communication.    V.Bogdanov  notes  that  numerous  implicatures
raise the speaker’s and the hearer’s status in each other’s eyes:
the  speaker  sounds  intelligent  and  knowledgeable  about  the
nuances of  communication,  and  the  hearer  realizes  that  the
speaker  relies  on  his  shrewdness.   “Communication   on   the
implicature level is a prestigious type of verbal  communication.
It  is   widely  used   by   educated   people:   to   understand
implicatures, the hearer must have a proper intellectual  level.”
(Богданов 1990:21).
      The ancient rhetorician Demetrius declared  the  following:
“People who understand what you do not literally say are not just
your  audience.  They  are  your  witnesses,   and   well-wishing
witnesses at that. You gave them an occasion to show  their  wit,
and they think they are shrewd and quick-witted. But if you “chew
over” your every thought, your hearers will decide  your  opinion
of their intellect is rather low.”    (Деметрий 1973:273).

                        2.2. The theory of politeness

      Another line of explanation of indirectness is provided  by
a sociolinguistic theory of  politeness  developed  in  the  late
1970s. Its  founder  Geoffrey  Leech  introduced  the  politeness
principle: people should  minimize  the  expression  of  impolite
beliefs and maximize the expression of polite beliefs [36,  102].
According to the politeness theory, speakers avoid threats to the
“face” of the hearers  by  various  forms  of  indirectness,  and
thereby  “implicate”  their  meanings  rather  than  assert  them
directly. The politeness theory  is  based  on  the  notion  that
participants are rational beings with two kinds of  “face  wants”
connected with their public self-image [26, 215]:
      • positive face - a desire to be appreciated and valued  by
others; desire for approval;
      • negative face - concern for certain personal  rights  and
freedoms,  such  as  autonomy  to  choose  actions,   claims   on
territory, and so on; desire to be  unimpeded.
      Some speech acts (“face  threatening  acts”)  intrinsically
threaten the faces. Orders and requests, for  instance,  threaten
the negative face, whereas criticism  and  disagreement  threaten
the positive face. The perpetrator therefore  must  either  avoid
such acts altogether (which may  be  impossible  for  a  host  of
reasons, including concern for her/his own face) or find ways  of
performing  them  with  mitigating  of  their  face   threatening
effect. For example, an indirectly formulated request (a  son  to
his father) “Are you using the car tonight?” counts  as  a  face-
respecting strategy because it leaves room for father  to  refuse
by saying “Sorry, it has already been taken (rather than the face-
threatening “You may not use it”). In that sense,  the  speaker’s
and the hearer’s faces are being attended to.
      Therefore, politeness is a relative notion not only in  its
qualitative aspect  (what is considered to be polite), but in its
quantitative aspect as well  (to  what  degree  various  language
constructions realize the politeness principle). Of course  there
are absolute markers of politeness, e.g. “please”, but  they  are
not numerous. Most of language units gain  a  certain  degree  of
politeness in a context.

                          “DECIPHER” THEIR MEANING?
      It has been pointed out above that in indirect speech  acts
the  relationship  between  the  words  being  uttered  and   the
illocutionary force is often oblique. For example,  the  sentence
“This is a pig sty” might be used nonliterally to  state  that  a
certain  room  is  messy  and  filthy  and,  further,  to  demand
indirectly that it be cleaned up. Even when this sentence is used
literally and directly, say to  describe  a  certain  area  of  a
barnyard, the content of its utterance is not fully determined by
its linguistic meaning - in particular, the meaning of  the  word
“this” does not determine which area is being referred to.
      How do we manage to define the illocution of  an  utterance
if we cannot do that by its syntactic  form?  There  are  several
theories trying to answer this question.

                            The inference theory
      The basic steps in the inference of an indirect speech  act
are as follows  [37, 286-340]:
   I. The literal meaning and force of the utterance are computed
      by,  and  available  to,  the  participants.  The  key   to
      understanding of the literal  meaning  is  the  syntactical
      form of the utterance.
      II. There is some indication that the  literal  meaning  is
inadequate (“a trigger” of  an indirect speech act).
        According to Searle, in indirect speech acts the  speaker
performs one illocutionary act but intends the  hearer  to  infer
another illocution by relying on their mutually shared background
information, both linguistic and nonlinguistic,  as  well  as  on
general  powers  of  rationality  and  inference,  that   is   on
illocutionary  force  indicating  devices   [43,   73].       The
illocutionary point of an  utterance  can  be  discovered  by  an
inferential process that attends to the speaker's  prosody,   the
context of utterance, the form of the  sentence,  the  tense  and
mood  of  verbs,  knowledge  of  the  language  itself   and   of
conversational conventions, and general encyclopaedic  knowledge.
The speaker knows this and speaks  accordingly,  aware  that  the
hearer - as a competent social being and  language  user  -  will
recognize the implications  [32, 41].  So, indirectness relies on
conversational implicature: there is overwhelming  evidence  that
speakers expect hearers to draw inferences from  everything  that
is  uttered.    It  follows  that  the  hearer  will  begin   the
inferential process  immediately  on  being  presented  with  the
locution. Under the cooperative principle, there is a  convention
that  the  speaker  has  some  purpose  for  choosing  this  very
utterance in  this  particular  context  instead  of  maintaining
silence or generating another  utterance.  The  hearer  tries  to
guess this purpose, and  in  doing  so,  considers  the  context,
beliefs about normal behaviour in this context, beliefs about the
speaker, and the presumed common ground.
       The fact that divergence between the form and the contents
of an utterance can vary within certain limits helps to  discover
indirect speech acts: an order can be disguised as a  request,  a
piece of advice or a question, but it is much less probable as  a
      III. There are principles  that  allow  us  to  derive  the
relevant indirect force from the literal meaning and the context.
      Searle  suggests that these principles can be stated within
his theory of felicity conditions for speech acts [44, 38].
      For example, according to Searle’s theory, a command  or  a
request has the following felicity conditions:
      1. Asking or stating the preparatory condition:
      Can you pass the salt? The hearer's ability to  perform  an
action is being asked.
      Literally it is a question; non-literally it is a request.
      2. Asking or stating the propositional content:
      You're standing on my foot. Would you  kindly  get  off  my
      Literally it is a statement or a question; non-literally it
is a request.
      3. Stating the sincerity condition:
      I'd like you to do this for me.
      Literally it is a statement; non-literally it is a request.
      4. Stating or asking the good/overriding reasons for  doing
an action:
      You had better go now. Hadn't you better go now? Why not go
      Literally it is a statement or a question; non-literally it
is a request.
      5. Asking if a person wants/wishes to perform an action:
       Would you mind helping me with this?  Would you mind  if I
asked you if you could write me a reference?
      Literally it is a question; non-literally it is  a  request
(in the last example an explicit directive verb is embedded).
      All these indirect acts have several common features:
1. Imperative force is not part of the literal meaning  of  these
2. These sentences are not ambiguous.
3. These sentences are conventionally used to make requests. They
   often have "please" at end or preceding the verb.
      4. These sentences are not idioms,  but  are  idiomatically
used as requests.
      5. These sentences can have literal interpretations.
      6. The literal meanings are maintained when  they  question
the physical ability: Can you pass the salt? - No, it’s  too  far
from me. I can’t reach it.
      7. Both the literal and the non-literal illocutionary  acts
are made when making a report on the utterance:
      The speaker: Can you come to my party tonight?
      The hearer: I have to get up early tomorrow.
      Report: He said he couldn't come. OR: He said he had to get
up early next morning.
      A problem of the inference theory is that  syntactic  forms
with a similar meaning often show  differences  in  the  ease  in
which they trigger indirect speech acts:
      a) Can you reach the salt?
      b) Are you able to reach the salt?
      c) Is it the case that you at present have the  ability  to
reach the salt?
      While (a) is most likely to be used as a  request,  (b)  is
less likely, and (c) is highly unlikely, although  they  seem  to
express the same proposition.
      Another drawback of the inference theory is the  complexity
of the algorithm it offers for recognizing  and  deciphering  the
true meaning of indirect speech acts. If the hearer had  to  pass
all the three stages every time he faced an indirect speech  act,
identifying the intended meaning would be time-consuming  whereas
normally  we  recognize  each  other’s  communicative  intentions
quickly and easily.

                    3.2. Indirect speech acts as idioms?
      Another line of explanation of  indirect  speech  acts  was
brought forward by Jerrold Sadock [42,  197].  According  to  his
theory,  indirect  speech  acts  are  expressions  based  on   an
idiomatic meaning added to their literal meaning (just  like  the
expression “to push up daisies” has two  meanings:  “to  increase
the distance of specimens of Bellis perennis from the  center  of
the earth by employing force” and “to be dead”).  Of  course,  we
do not have specific  idioms  here,  but  rather   general  idiom
schemes. For example, the scheme “Can you + verb?”  is  idiomatic
for commands and requests.
      However, the idiomatic  hypothesis  is  questionable  as  a
general strategy. One problem is that a reaction to  an  indirect
speech act can be composite to both the direct and  the  indirect
speech act, e.g.
      The speaker: Can you tell me the time?
      The hearer: Yes, it’s three o’clock.
      We never find this type of reaction to the literal and  the
idiomatic intepretation of an idiom:
      The speaker: Is he pushing the daisies by now?
      Hearer 1: Yes/no  (the  idiomatic  meaning  is  taken  into
      Hearer 2: Depends what you mean. As a  gardener,  yes  (the
literal meaning is taken into account).
      Another problem is that there is a multitude  of  different
(and seemingly semantically  related)  forms  that  behave  in  a
similar way:
      a) Can you pass me the salt?
      b) Could you pass me the salt?
      c) May I have the salt?
      d) May I ask you to pass the salt?
      e) Would you be so kind to pass the salt?
      f) Would you mind passing the salt?
      Some  of  these  expressions  are  obviously   semantically
related (e.g. can/could, would you be so  kind/would  you  mind),
and it seems that it is this semantic relation  that  makes  them
express the same indirect  speech  act.  This  is  different  for
classical idioms, where the phrasing itself matters:
       a) to push the daisies “to be dead” vs. to push the roses
      b) to kick the bucket “to die” vs. to kick the barrel.
      Hence, a defender of the idiom  hypothesis  must  assume  a
multitude of idiom schemes, some of which are  obviously  closely
semantically related.
       Summarizing, we can say that there are  certain  cases  of
indirect  speech  acts  that  have  to  be  seen  as  idiomatized
syntactic constructions (for example, English why not-questions.)
But typically, instances of indirect speech acts  should  not  be
analyzed as simple idioms.

                     3. Other approaches to the problem

      The difference of the idiomatic  and  inference  approaches
can be explained  by  different  understanding  of  the  role  of
convention in communication. The former theory  overestimates  it
while  the  latter  underestimates  it,  and  both   reject   the
qualitative  diversity  of  conventionality.    Correcting   this
shortcoming, Jerry Morgan writes about two types of convention in
indirect speech acts  [39,  261]:  conventions  of  language  and
conventions of usage. The utterance  “Can  you  pass  the  salt?”
cannot  be  considered  as  a  regular  idiom   (conventions   of
language), but its use for an  indirect  request  is  undoubtedly
conventional, i.e. habitual for everyday speech  that  is  always
characterized by a certain degree of ritualization.
      In  accordance  with  this  approach  the  function  of  an
indirect speech act is conventionally  fixed,  and  an  inference
process is not  needed.     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.
      There is an opinion  that  indirect  speech  acts  must  be
considered  as  language  polysemy,  e.g.  “Why  not   +   verb?”
construction serves as a formal marker of not just the illocutive
function of a question, but of that of a request, e.g.  “Why  not
clean the room right now?”
      According to Grice and Searle, the implicit meaning  of  an
utterance can always be inferred from its  literal  meaning.  But
according to the relevance theory developed by Sperber and Wilson
[46, 113], the process of interpretation of indirect speech  acts
does not at all differ from  the  process  of  interpretation  of
direct speech acts. Furthermore, it is  literal  utterances  that
are often marked and sound less natural than utterances  with  an
indirect meaning. For example, the utterance “She  is  a  snake.”
having an implicit meaning  sounds  more  natural  than  “She  is
spiteful.” Exclamatory utterances  “It’s  not  exactly  a  picniс
weather!”  and   “It’s  not  a  day  for  cricket!”  sound   more
expressive and habitual than the literal  utterance  “What  nasty
weather  we  are   having!”    The   interrogative   construction
expressing a request “Could you put on your black dress?” is more
customary than the performative: “I suggest that you  should  put
on your black dress.”
      To  summarize:  there  is  no  unanimity  among   linguists
studying indirect speech acts as to how we discover them in  each
other’s speech and “extract” their meaning. Every theory has  got
its strong and weak points, and the final word has not  yet  been


                                 A DISCOURSE

      Speech act theories  considered  above  treat  an  indirect
speech act as the product of a single utterance based on a single
sentence with only one illocutionary  point  -  thus  becoming  a
pragmatic extension to sentence grammars.  In real life, however,
we do not use isolated utterances: an utterance functions as part
of  a  larger  intention  or  plan.  In  most  interactions,  the
interlocutors each have an agenda; and to carry out the plan, the
illocutions within a discourse are ordered with  respect  to  one
another.   Very little work has been done on the contribution  of
the  illocutions  within  utterances  to   the   development   of
understanding of a discourse.
      As Labov and Fanshel pointed out, “most utterances  can  be
seen  as  performing  several  speech  acts  simultaneously   ...
Conversation is not a chain of utterances, but rather a matrix of
utterances and actions bound together by a web of  understandings
and reactions ... In conversation, participants use  language  to
interpret to each  other  the  significance  of  the  actual  and
potential events that surround them and to draw the  consequences
for their past and future actions.” (Labov, Fanshel 1977: 129).
      Attempts to break out of the  sentence-grammar  mould  were
made by Labov  and  Fanshel  [35],  Edmondson  [29],  Blum-Kulka,
House, and Kasper  [24].  Even  an  ordinary  and  rather  formal
dialogue between a customer and a chemist  contains  indirectness
(see table 4.1).

                     Table 4.1

      Indirect speech acts of an ordinary formal dialogue

|Participant |Utterance        |Indirect speech acts                  |
|Customer    |Do you have any  |    Seeks to establish preparatory    |
|            |Actifed?         |condition for                         |
|            |                 |transaction and thereby implies the   |
|            |                 |intention to                          |
|            |                 |buy on condition that Actifed is      |
|            |                 |available.                            |
|Chemist     |Tablets or       |     Establishes a preparatory        |
|            |linctus?         |condition for the                     |
|            |                 |transaction by offering a choice of   |
|            |                 |product.                              |
|Customer    |Packet of        |     Requests one of products offered,|
|            |tablets,         |initiates                             |
|            |please.          |transaction. In this context, even    |
|            |                 |without                               |
|            |                 |“please”, the noun phrase alone will  |
|            |                 |function as                           |
|            |                 |a requestive.                         |
|Chemist     |That'll be       |    A statement disguising a request  |
|            |$18.50.          |for payment to                        |
|            |                 |execute   the transaction.            |
|Customer    |OK.              |    Agrees to contract of sale thereby|
|            |                 |fulfilling                            |
|            |                 |t   buyer's side of the bargain.      |
|Chemist     |Have a nice day! |    Fulfills seller's side of the     |
|            |                 |bargain and                           |
|            |                 |concludes interaction with a          |
|            |                 |conventional farewell.                |

       Discourse  always  displays  one  or  more  perlocutionary
functions. Social interaction predominates in everyday  chitchat;
informativeness in academic texts;  persuasiveness  in  political
speeches; and entertainment in novels.  But  many  texts  combine
some or all these functions in varying degrees to  achieve  their
communicational purpose. For instance, although an academic  text
is primarily informative, it also tries to  persuade  readers  to
reach a certain point of view; it needs to be entertaining enough
to keep the reader's attention; and most academic  texts  try  to
get the reader on the author’s side  through  social  interactive
techniques such as use of authorial we to include the reader.
      The  genre  of  the  text  shapes  the  strategy  for   its
interpretation: we  do  not  expect  nonliterality  when  reading
medical prescriptions. For every genre there is an  illocutionary
standard. For example, a letter of recommendation is an alloy  of
declarations and expressives. A request added to it  converts  it
into a petition  whereas  a  detailed  list  of  facts  from  the
person’s life turns it into a biography. In canonized texts, lack
of “moulds” has a significant pragmatic load.
      The  illocutionary  standard  of  a  text  depends  on  the
communicative situation and macrocontext. For  example,  in  “The
Centaur” by John Updike  there  is  an  obituary  whose  indirect
meaning is much wider than the literal meaning (chapter 5 of  the
      On the  whole,  the  contribution  of  the  illocutions  of
individual utterances to  the  understanding  of  macrostructures
within texts is sorely in need of study.


      Pragmatic research reveals that the main  types  of  speech
acts can be found in all natural languages. Yet, some speech acts
are specific for a group of  languages  or  even  for  a  certain
language. For instance, the English  question  “Have  you  got  a
match?” is a request while the Ukrainian utterance “Чи  маєте  Ви
сірники?” possesses two meanings: either the  speaker  is  asking
you for matches or offering them to you. Only  the  utterance  “У
Вас  немає  сірників?”  having   interrogatory   intonation   and
stressed “немає” is unambiguously a request.
      Offering advice, the Ukrainians prefer  not  to  use  modal
verbs  (могти, хотіти) that would make up an indirect speech act.
Preference is given to direct speech acts of advice.
      Seeing off  guests,  the  Ukrainians  often  use  causative
verbs, e.g. “Заходіть! Телефонуйте! Пишіть!”  This  communicative
behaviour often provokes an inadequate  reaction  of  foreigners:
instead of “Дякую!”  prescribed by the Ukrainian speech etiquette
they say: “With great pleasure!” or ask “When  exactly  should  I
come? What for?”
      Mikhail Goldenkov describes a typical indirect  speech  act
used in US public transport [3,82]. If a passenger wants  to  get
off  a  crowded  bus,  s/he  should  not  directly  question  the
passengers blocking the way if they are getting off or not  (like
it is usually done in Ukraine). A  direct  speech  act  would  be
taken as  meddling  in  other  people’s  personal  matters.     A
request to make way must be disguised as a statement: “Excuse me,
I am getting off” or as a question in the first person: “Could  I
get off please?”
      Indirect speech acts must always be taken into account when
learning  a  foreign  language.  In  many  cases  they  make  the
communicative center and sound  much  more  natural  than  direct
speech acts. In particular, at English lessons  in  Ukraine  much
attention is given to  direct  inverted  questions.  Furthermore,
often only such questions are considered to be correct, and as  a
result students  get  accustomed  to  conversations  reminding  a
police quest: “Have you got  an  apartment?”,  “Where  does  your
father work?”, etc. However, when asking for information,  native
speakers do not often use direct speech acts because they are not
suitable from the point of view of speech  etiquette.  To  master
the art of conversation, students must be able  to  use  indirect
declarative  questions,  e.g.  “I’d  like  to  know  if  you  are
interested in football” or “I wonder if we  could  be  pen-pals”,
      Native English speakers  often  say  that  English-speaking
Ukrainians sound too  direct.  As  a  result,  the  hearer  feels
pressure that can cause a communication failure.      I  remember
my husband selecting books to  borrow  in  a  public  library  of
Montreal, Canada. He put aside the books he chose and  left  them
unattended for a minute to go  to  another  bookshelf.  Meanwhile
another reader came by and  took  some  of  my  husband’s  books.
Seeing that, my husband came up to the man and said: “Please  put
the books back”.  The man looked offended. Definitely, he did not
expect a direct speech act. He took it as a  command  threatening
his “negative face”. My husband made a  communicational  mistake.
An indirect speech act was the  only  thing  appropriate  in  the
situation. He should have said something like “Excuse me,  but  I
am  borrowing  those  books.”   It  would  have  been  a  request
disguised as a statement.
      English lessons for the Ukrainians must  include  Tips  for
making English less direct, i.e. special information  on  how  to
“soften” directness of speech using  indirect  speech  acts,  for
example: “Try to present your  view  as  a  question,  not  as  a
statement. Say: “Wouldn’t that be too  late?”  instead  of  “That
will be too late.”


                                 1. Fiction

      Literature is often compared to a mirror  reflecting  life.
Writers strive  to  make  their  personages  sound  natural,  and
utterances of literary personages can be linguistically  analyzed
just like speech of  real  people.  Here  are  some  examples  of
indirect speech acts generated by  heroes  of  works  written  by
modern British and US authors.
      a) In the short story “The Life Guard” by John  Wain  young
Jimmy Townsend works as a beach lifeguard. One morning  he  wants
to get rid of an unwelcome visitor in his hut at  the  beach  and
asks him to quit using an indirect speech act  (a  representative
with the illocutionary force of a directive): “I’m going swimming
now. I have to keep in practice.” The visitor, however, does  not
understand the implication and answers: “I am not stopping  you.”
Jimmy tries another indirect speech act: “I have to leave the hut
empty.” The implication dawns on the visitor, but he is not sure:
“You mean nobody is allowed in the hut?” Jimmy uses  an  indirect
speech act to invite the visitor  to  join  him  for  a  swim  (a
request disguised as a question): “Why don’t you come in swimming
with me if you want something to do?”
       To prove his efficiency as an instructor, Jimmy  wants  to
teach swimming to an old fat lady. The woman wants Jimmy to leave
her  alone,  but  being  polite,  avoids  a  command   and   uses
representatives with the illocutionary force of a directive: “The
water is cold?”; “It’s the first time I  am  on  the  beach  this
year”; “I’ll never swim the Channel, that I do know.”
      Scared that he  will  be  fired  because  no  one  needs  a
lifeguard at a safe beach, Jimmy plans to arrange a fake  rescue.
He asks his former schoolmate to pretend drowning: “I want you to
go in swimming, pretend to get into trouble, wave to me, and I’ll
swim out and tow you back to shore.”  The  boy  declines  Jimmy’s
idea  using  an  indirect  speech  act  (a  question   with   the
illocutionary force of a statement):  “What  d’you  think  I  am,

      b)  In  Thorton  Wilder’s   novel   titled   "Heaven’s   my
destination" a young man named  Mr.Brush  asks  Mr.  Bohardus,  a
forensic photographer, to sell a photograph:
      “- There, now, I guess, we got some good pictures.
      - Do you sell copies of these, Mr.Bohardus?
      - We're not allowed to, I reckon. Leastways there never was
no great demand.
      - I was thinking I could buy some  extra.  I  haven't  been
taken for more than two years. I know my mother would like some.
      Bohardus stared at him narrowly.
      - I don't think it shows a good spirit to make fun of  this
work, Mr.Brown, and I tell you I don't like it. In fifteen  years
here nobody's made fun of it, not even murderers haven't.
      - Believe me, Mr.Bohardus,  said  Brush,  turning  red,  "I
wasn't making fun of anything. I knew you made good  photos,  and
that's all I thought about."
      Bohardus maintained an angry silence, and  when  Brush  was
led away refused to return his greeting”.
      The question “Do you sell copies  of  these,  Mr.Bohardus?”
has another meaning, that of a  compliment.  Compliments  have  a
restricted sphere of usage, and the photographer’s negative reply
showed that under the circumstances it  was  not  appropriate  to
compliment  a  policeman.   The  compliment  was  rejected  in  a
friendly manner. But  Brush  broke  the  standard  scheme  of  an
indirect speech act  and  turned  a  compliment  into  a  literal
request. The policeman was insulted: he thought that Brush mocked
at him. Brush tried to  make  amends,  but  to  no  avail.  Brush
violated  the  communicative  convention,  and  his  words   were
interpreted as an affront.

         c) Earl Fox, the protagonist of  the  novel  “Live  with
lightning” composed by Mitchell Wilson,  is  a  famous  physicist
aged 50. His social status is high, but he falls out of love with
his science and feels inner emptiness  and  despair.  The  author
uses a rhetoric question to  describe  the  first  fit  of  Fox’s
indifference to physics:
      “Realization had come slowly, against  his  reluctance.  He
was listening to a paper being read, and he found himself  asking
“Who cares?” It was the first open admission that  curiosity  was
      Rhetoric questions are pseudoquestions because the  speaker
knows the answer  and  does  not  ask  for  information.  On  the
contrary, a rhetoric question conveys  some  information  to  the
hearer and seeks to convince the  hearer  of  something  [15,97].
What Fox meant by the question “Who  cares?”  was  the  statement
statement “Nobody cares.”

      d) Further on in Mitchell Wilson’s  novel,  Fox  interviews
Eric Gorin, a young scientist who applied for a job in  his  lab.
Closing their conversation, Fox wants to show his friendliness by
asking a formal personal question: "And did you have  a  pleasant
summer,  Mr.  Gorin?”   Its  nonliteral  meaning  is  that  of  a

“Relax. Don’t be so tense.”  Fox  expects  a  conventional  reply
“Yes, thank you”, but  Gorin’s  utterance  breaks  the  rules  of
speech etiquette: “A pleasant summer?” Erik was  silent  for  the
time of two long breaths. “No, sir,” he said explosively. “I damn
well did not have  a  pleasant  summer!”  Fox  is  startled  into
silence: Gorin not only took the question literally, but did  not
follow the politeness principle as well.

        e)  “I'm  not  quite  sure  how  long  you've  known  the
Fieldings” (J. Fowles); "I'm dying to know what you did with  all
the lions you slaughtered," said Susie Boyd  (S.  Maugham);  “I'd
like to know why she's gone off like this.” (J. Fowles).
      Indirect questions in the  utterances  above  are  compound
sentences whose principle clauses contain predicates of cognition
while subordinate clauses specify the desired information.

       f) Indirect speech acts are frequent when a  person  of  a
lower social status addresses a person of a higher social status.
Often  they  contain  additional  markers  of   politeness   like
apologies,  appellations  to  the  hearer’s  volition,  etc.  For
instance, a maid  says  to  her  mistress:  “I'm  sorry  to  have
disturbed you, Madam... I only wondered whether you wished to see
me.” (D. du Maurier). A visitor says to his hostess: “I only want
to know the truth, if you.will tell it to me” (E. Voynich).

      g) “A question in a question” is also  an  indirect  speech
act. The speaker  asks  if  the  hearer  is  knowledgeable  about
something, and the informative  question  is  included  into  the
whole construction as a  complement.  Such  utterances  give  the
hearer a chance “to quit the game” by answering only  the  direct
question, e.g.   "Do you happen to know when it is open?" -  "Oh,
no, no. I haven't been there myself" (L. Jones).

      h)  A  reliable  way  to  be  polite  is   to   express   a
communicative intention as  a  request  to  perform  it.  Such  a
request can be formulated as a separate utterance, a part  of  an
utterance or a composite sentence, for instance:  “May I ask  you
where you are staying?” (C. Snow); “Might I inquire  if  you  are
the owner?” (L. Jones); “What are your таin ideas so far, sir, if
you don't mind me asking?” (K. Amis);  “I  should  be  very  much
obliged if you would tell me as exact as possible how Mrs. Haddo,
died” (S. Maugham); “Would  it  bother  you  if  I  asked  you  a
question about  how  you  lost  your  job  with  Axminster?”  (D.

      i)  A  gradual  transition  from  an  indirect  speech  act
complying with the politeness principle  to  an  impolite  direct
speech act with the same  illocutionary  force  is  shown  in  an
episode of the popular cartoon “Shrek”.  After Shrek had  rescued
Princess Fiona from the dragon, the girl asked him to remove  his
helmet, so that he could kiss her:  “You did it! You rescued  me!
The battle is over. You can remove your helmet now.”
      The italicized utterance  is  an  indirect  speech  act  (a
representative with the illocutionary force of a directive).
      Shrek, however, is unwilling to put off his helmet: he does
not want the girl to see that he is an ogre.  To  make  him  obey
her, Fiona uses another indirect speech act: “Why not remove your
helmet?” and then a rather impolite directive: “Remove it! Now!”

                                2. Publicism

      Indirect speech acts are widely used in  publicistic  works
when  the  speaker  or  the  writer  aims   at   convincing   the
interlocutor of something. A quotation from an article  published
by “The Times” dated June 12, 1999, exemplifies this:
      “The claim that the Earl of Oxford, or Bacon, or any  other
grandee must have written “Shakespeare” seems to be born  largely
of a snobbish conviction that  a  provincial  grammar-school  boy
could not have produced that corpus of  world  masterpieces.  Yet
outstanding literary achievement is more likely to come from such
a background than any other.
      With the exception of Byron and Shelley, all  our  greatest
writers have been middle-class, and most of them provincials.  If
Marlowe, a Canterbury shoemaker’s son, could re-create the worlds
of Edward II and Tamburlaine, why should not a Stratford glover’s
son depict courtly life at large? The argument that it would take
an aristocrat to know how royalty behaved and thought ignores the
imaginative power of well-read genius.”
      The journalist’s argument “The claim …  seems  to  be  born
largely of a snobbish conviction that a provincial grammar school
boy could not have produced that corpus of  world  masterpieces.”
contains two speech acts. On the one hand, it is a representative
giving a negative, critical appraisal. On the other hand,  it  is
an indirect expressive (a protest).
      The argument “If Marlowe,  a  Canterbury  shoemaker’s  son,
could re-create the worlds of  Edward  II  and  Tamburlaine,  why
should not a  Stratford  glover’s  son  depict  courtly  life  at
large?” is  another  indirect  speech  act.  Formally,  it  is  a
question,  but  in  essence  it  is  an  indirect  statement   (a
      Another article in “The Times”  of  November  13,  1999  is
devoted to the safety of flights of private airplanes:
      “…Their central, and only, point is not an argument  but  a
prejudice - that safety and private sector are incompatible. This
is obviously wrong, as the impressive history of  this  country's
airlines and airports makes plain”.
      The utterance “It's not an argument,  but  a  predjudice  -
that  safety  and  private  sector   are   incompatible”   is   a
representative, but  on  the  other  hand,  the  author  protests
against the point of  view  taken  by  his  opponents,  and  this
utterance can also be regarded as an indirect expressive.
      Evidently, indirect speech acts influence  the  quality  of
argumentation, and that is crucial for  publicism.  They  amplify
the speaker’s impact upon the hearers’ feelings and emotions.

                               3. Advertising

      Indirect  speech  acts  are  widely  used  in  advertising.
Advertisements can perform various  literal  functions  combining
representatives (information on the product), commissives (safety
or quality guarantee), expressives (admiration for the  product),
etc. But the pragmatic focus of any  advertisement  is  always  a
directive: “Buy it now!”
      For  example,  the  advertisement:  “You’ll  see  Tefal  in
action! Purchasing the new  model,  you  get  a  present!”  is  a
directive disguised  as  a  commissive  (a  promise).  Often  the
implication is biased from the product  to  its  potential  user,
like in the slogan: “L’Oreal, Paris. Because  I’m  worth  it”  (a
directive camouflaged as a representative).

                                4. Anecdotes

      Indirect speech acts are often the  heart  of  an  anecdote
[17]: Two businessmen made a fortune by means of forgery and were
doing their best to be  considered  aristocrats.  They  even  had
their portraits  painted  by  the  most  famous  and  “expensive”
artist. The portraits were first displayed at a grand  rout.  The
businessmen brought the most influential critic to the  portraits
hoping to hear the  words  of  admiration  and  compliments.  The
critic stared at the portraits for a while, then shook  his  head
as if something important were missing and asked pointing at  the
space between the portraits: “And where is the Savior?”
      The implication  of  the  question  is  unambiguous:  Jesus
Christ between the two robbers. The critic made up a  complicated
indirect speech act: he disguised an  evaluative  representative:
“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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