The Importance Of Speech Acts

1132 Words5 Pages
Speech Acts “Hey, can you reach that,” I asked pointing at a book on the top shelf. The boy standing next to me looked around before replying to ensure that I was, in fact, speaking to him. “Uh, yeah. The blue one?” He responded to confirm which book I had been pointing at. “Yep. Thanks, you’re a life saver.” “No problem,” he said as he handed me the book. I smiled at him before turning to walk back to the table I had been studying at. After reading that nothing about the interaction seems strange without understanding speech acts, particularly indirect speech acts. Speaking consists of more than a string of words. When we speak we communicate messages through our words as well as our actions because we say what we say and do what we do for a reason. There are intentions behind every sound and move we make whether we consciously recognize them or not. It is these intentions that form the basis for speech acts, which let “you talk about what language is doing” (Agar, 1994, p.149). Speech acts make up an integral part of understanding language because “language involves more than what the words alone carry;” thus, “you have to understand the acts that language is a part of” which lead you to “what the language counts as” (Agar, 1994, p.151). And, as we have learned, “language…show more content…
Indirect speech acts are integral to our everyday conversations because we often use them to be polite. However, because indirect speech acts create an inherent ambiguity they can cause confusion in certain situations. Whether we cognitively recognize their existence or not, speech acts form the basis of our communication. They allow us to gain understanding and knowledge from our interactions in ways that words alone cannot. Speech acts establish language and culture by giving life to words and placing meaning in
Open Document