Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Direct speech acts - summary

One subtype of speech acts is that of direct speech. A direct speech act is defined as one in which only the illocutionary force and propositional content literally expressed by the lexical items and syntactic form of the utterance are communicated. What this means, essentially, is that in a direct speech act, only necessary words and word-orderings are used to convey a message.
Brown and Levinson (1987: p.66) cite some common uses of direct speech:
a) Commands/requests. (e.g. Open the door please!)
b) Suggestions/advice. (e.g. You should not do that again)
) Expressions of disagreement or disapproval. (e.g. I do not agree with you)
However, because direct speech is employed for maximal efficiency, it is meant to satisfy a speaker’s desires, the addressee’s wants are sometimes overlooked, which may result in the addressee taking offence. Offending the listener is undesirable and can be construed as aggressive, while the purpose of speech acts is to gain compliance. Thus, direct speech is avoided when possible and supplanted by indirect speech (Brown & Levinson, 1987: p.60).

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