Volume 9, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1878-9714
  • E-ISSN: 1878-9722
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes


In this paper, we analyse and discuss an utterance/pragmeme/pract proffered by US President Donald Trump and addressed to FBI Director Comey: ‘I hope you will let Flynn go’. We consider the explicature of this utterance (‘I hope you will drop the Russian investigation concerning Flynn’) and its illocutionary and perlocutionary effects. We argue that while Republicans opt for an Austinian or Searlean analysis, in the attempt to deny that this utterance constituted an attempt to influence Comey, there are reasons for adopting a Strawsonian analysis, casting it in the framework of pragmemes, devised by Mey (2001) , that frame a socio-pragmatic analysis of utterance interpretation within context. This analysis shows, Trump illicitly tried to persuade Comey to drop the Russian investigation, and therefore attempted to interfere with the judiciary system. A reasoned case can be made for saying that Trump had the intention of interfering with America’s federal court system through this utterance.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Allan, Keith , Alessandro Capone , and Istvan Kecskes
    eds. 2016Pragmemes and theories of language use. Cham: Springer.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Atlas, Jay
    2005Logic, Meaning, and Conversation: Semantical Underdeterminacy, Implicature, and their Interface. Oxford: Oxford University Press.10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195133004.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195133004.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  3. Austin, John L.
    1975How to do things with words. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198245537.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198245537.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  4. Camp, Elisabeth
    2017 The hot potato of interpretative responsibility. languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=33246
  5. Capone, Alessandro
    2005 Pragmemes. Journal of Pragmatics37:1355–1371.10.1016/j.pragma.2005.01.013
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2005.01.013 [Google Scholar]
  6. 2009 Are explicatures cancellable? Toward a theory of the speaker’s intentionality. Intercultural Pragmatics6 (1):55–83.10.1515/IPRG.2009.003
    https://doi.org/10.1515/IPRG.2009.003 [Google Scholar]
  7. 2013 Explicatures are not cancellable. In Alessandro Capone , Francesco Lo Piparo , and Marco Carapezza , eds.Perspectives on linguistic pragmatics. Cham: Springer, 131–151.10.1007/978‑3‑319‑01014‑4_5
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-01014-4_5 [Google Scholar]
  8. 2016aThe pragmatics of indirect reports. Cham: Springer.10.1007/978‑3‑319‑21395‑8
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-21395-8 [Google Scholar]
  9. 2016bIntroduction to allan, Capone and Kecskes , eds. 2016 Cham: Springer.
  10. Capone, Alessandro , and Francesca Poggi
    eds. 2016Pragmatics and Law: Philosophical perspectives. Cham: Springer.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. CNN
    CNN 2017 Report: Mueller wants to talk to current and former Trump administration officials. edition.cnn.com/2017/08/12/politics/mueller-trump-white-house-officials/index.html
  12. Danner, Chas
    2017 (June 11) Donald Trump Jr. may have accidentally confirmed part of Comey’s testimony. NYMag.com. RetrievedJuly 29, 2017nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/06/donald-trump-jr-seems-to-confirm-part-of-comeys-testimony.html
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Donnellan, Keith S.
    1966 Reference and definite descriptions. Philosophical Review75: 281–304.10.2307/2183143
    https://doi.org/10.2307/2183143 [Google Scholar]
  14. Editorial Board
    Editorial Board June 8, 2017 James Comey and the fear of being alone with Donald Trump. The New York Times. RetrievedJuly 29fromhttps://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/08/opinion/james-comey-donald-trump.html
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Editorial Board
    Editorial Board June 8, 2017 Mr. Comey and all the President’s lies. The New York Times. RetrievedJuly 29 fromhttps://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/08/opinion/james-comey-senate-testimony.html?_r=0
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Geis, Michael L.
    1995Speech acts and conversational interaction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9780511554452
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511554452 [Google Scholar]
  17. Goffman, Ervin
    1981Forms of talk. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Goldberg, Sanford
    2015Assertion: On the philosophical significance of assertoric speech. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Helmreich, Jeffrey
    2017 Personal communication.
  20. Horn, Laurence R.
    1989A natural history of negation. Chicago: Chicago University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Jaszczolt, Kasia
    2016Meaning in linguistic interaction: Semantics, metasemantics, philosophy of language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Kecskes, Istvan
    2013Intercultural pragmatics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Kissine, Michail
    2013From utterances to speech acts. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9780511842191
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511842191 [Google Scholar]
  24. Levinson, Stephen C.
    1983Pragmatics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. 2000Presumptive meanings: The theory of generalized conversational implicature. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Mey, Jacob L.
    2001Pragmatics. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. (Second edition)
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Peacocke, Christopher
    2014The mirror of the world: Subjects, consciousness, and self-consciousness. Oxford: Oxford University Press.10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199699568.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199699568.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  28. Poggi, Francesca , and Alessandro Capone
    eds. 2016Pragmatics and law: Practical and theoretical perspectives. Cham: Springer.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Searle, John R.
    1969Speech acts: An essay in the philosophy of language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Strawson, Peter
    1964 Intention and convention in speech acts. The Philosophical Review73/4: 439–460.10.2307/2183301
    https://doi.org/10.2307/2183301 [Google Scholar]
  31. Tannen, Deborah
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error