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Recommended Readings

  1. Bakhtin M. Speech Genres and Other Late Essays. - Tx: University of Texas Press, 1986.— 238 p.

  2. Maranhao T. The Interpretation of Dialogue. - Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990.

  3. Cohn D. Transparent Minds: Narrative Modes for Presenting Consciousness in Fiction. - Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978.

  4. Edwardes J. The Faber Book of Monologues. - Faber and Faber, 2005.

  5. Hirsh J. Shakespeare and the History of Soliloquies. - Madison: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2003.

Lecture 7

General characteristics of the components of

Communicative/speech act


  1. The essence of communicative act.

  2. The Junctions of communicative act.

  3. Pragmatic aspects of communication.

3.a.Conversational maxims and implicatures.

3.b.Meaning based on intention.

3. c. Presupposition.

3d. lndexical Expressions.


  1. Language competence.

4a. Grammatical competence.

4.b. Discourse competence.

4.c. Sociolinguistic competence.

  1. d Strategic competence.

  1. The essence of communicative act

Language as a system of rules (including phonology, morphology, syntax, grammar, semantics, pragmatics and focusing on rules describing competence rather than performance) limits our ability to look at communication system more generally and to see important characteristics of speech forms that are used within speech communities and between them. Basic limitations of theoretical linguistics of the past to the sentence as the unit of analysis and to referential meaning as the only relevant sort of meaning, of interest for analysis primarily in terms of "same or different" can be overcome in part by taking a more inclusive view on speech as a form of communication; by starting with an analysis of the "communicative act" (or simply the "speech act") in terms of the components of which it is composed and the functions that can be served through it (see the scheme below).




expressive MESSAGE FORM





identificational contact



Communicative Act (or Speech Act) Components (according to Hymes and Jakobson).

The components and functions above are all within (or "enclosed by") another component, the CONTEXT, and an associated function of the communicative act as a whole could be called contextual. Different societies will make differential use of and definitions of these speech act components. The ethnographer (one who wants to describe a culture) would like to list all the possible named speech acts, all the possible senders, all the possible receivers, all the kinds of codes, all the named kinds of message form, all the message channels possible, all the named topics, etc.

  1. TheJunctions of communicative act

  1. connected with the sender (speaker)

  1. Identificational function of the communicative act is most closely associated with the sender - such things as voice set, accent, intonation, etc. tell the receiver about sender's age, sex, etc.; i. e. they identify him, and they are generally involuntary.

  2. Expressive function (the choice of words, intonation, etc), expresses emotions and attitudes toward the receiver or other component of speech act.; generally under voluntary control.

  1. message channel could be represented by gestures, whistling, drumming, speech and is realized through the contacts — physical - (sound hits the ears) and psychological -phatic communion (i.e. social contact).

  2. message form is closely connected with poetic function. It is not limited to poetry, this function is expressed as manipulations of and restrictions on a message form, and these can be of many different sorts. Different amounts and varieties of aesthetic appreciation are derivable from various ways of formulating a message with any given referential content.

  3. topic (what the message is about) is associated with referential function: it is closely tied to the dictionary meanings of messages.

  4. code (signalling units of which a message is composed) realizes metalinguistic function, i.e. information about the code that is conveyed in a speech act.

F. receiver — connected with the directive function — concerns subsequent activity of the receiver as directed by what the speaker says. (e.g. "Would you close the door, please?") and a rhetorical function - concerns the receiver's outlook as it is affected by what is said, e.g. "What a nice dress."

g. setting (context) - (relevant features constituting a specific setting most often involve participants, location, and time of the speech act) is realized through the contextual junction of the speech act. Setting component is reflected in messages saying something about the time, place, or persons in the interaction. Many linguistic forms referring to these things cannot be interpreted without reference to the speech act itself, for their meanings are not fixed but relative (e.g. 'me', 'you', 'here', 'there', 'now', 'then') (e.g. "It happened yesterday"; "Oh, there you are"). In some cases, the primary function of the whole speech act is contextual.

Once we are familiar with the Junctions of the speech act we can think of them in a slightly different way by calling these functions meanings that can be associated with the speech act. So in this sense there are at least 9 general kinds of meanings that can be associated with the communicative/speech act.

  1. Pragmatic aspects of communication

The prominent mechanisms that enable conversationalists to communicate more or different information than is literally said include the following:

conversational maxims and implicatures;

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