Volume 17, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0929-0907
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9943
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Asher and Lascarides (2003) maintain that speech act types, the sorts of linguistic actions described and categorized, most influentially, by Austin (1962) and Searle (1969, 1979) are rhetorical relations. This relational account of speech acts is problematic for two reasons: Despite Asher and Lascarides (2001) ingenious appeal to dot type speech acts, the relational account is incompatible with the widespread phenomenon of indirect speech; only some speech acts are plausibly identified with rhetorical relations. These problems can be solved if a distinction between two kinds of speech act is recognized: Discourse-structuring speech acts are performed upon utterances and thus are plausibly identified with rhetorical relations, while non-discourse-structuring speech acts are performed upon conversational participants and thus are not plausibly identified with such relations. The typologies for these two kinds of speech acts cut across one another, and this suggests a promising approach to the phenomenon of indirect speech acts.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): discourse; dynamic semantics; indirect speech; pragmatics; rhetorical relation; speech act
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