Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Best examples of locutionary acts

A locutionary act, or a locutionary speech act in JL Austin’s definition, is the part of an utterance which is the thing which is actually being said. In other words one can define as a locutionary act as the act of producing sounds that have meaning. Meaning is key here do explain Austin’s idea and to give examples, since a parakeet which calls “it is raining”, for example, does not perform a locutionary act since it does not understand the meaning of the utterance.


Good examples for sentences which are locutionary acts are any utterances which simply contain a meaningful statement about objects. For example: “the baby is crying” or “the sky is blue”. Other examples of locutionary acts can help us understand them is linguistic terms of meaning and reference. Such example sentences include: “there is a dog over there” or “Jack loves Jill”. Once again, in order to give a good example of a locutionary act you need to simply thing of a sentence that has meaning, and it is the meaning part of that sentence which is locutionary.


Other aspects of an utterance are the speech acts termed by Austin as illocutionary and perlocutionary acts, which will be covered with examples in the following links:

Examples of illocutionary acts   

Examples of perlocutionary acts

Summary of How to Do Things With Words by J.L.Austin 

In depth: