Re: Illocutionary

From: Joe A. Friberg (
Date: Thu Oct 14 1999 - 13:42:31 EDT

The original Speech Act theory classic is J.L. Austin. 1962. _How to Do
Things with Words_. I purchased a copy a couple of years ago at Barnes &
Noble for $8.

Austin introduces/uses the terms locution, illocution, and perlocution, but
gives scant development to the last.
locution: sense/reference of an utterance
illocution: that which is accomplished in/by the actual act of uttering the
perlocution: the effect of the utterance on the hearer

The clearest examples of illocutionary force are in those formalized
routines, such as a judge rendering a verdict, christening a ship, or "I now
pronounce you man and wife." In these cases, it is very clear that it is
the actual act of speaking that accomplishes something. How does it do
that? Because it is uttered within certain culturally/linguistically
defined parameters (spoken by the proper authority, etc.).

Illocutionary categories commonly recognized are statement vs. question vs.
command: 'I state', 'I ask', 'I command'. Austin (p.150ff) gives some more
nuanced and inclusive categories:
1. verdictives: issue a verdict: estimate, reckon, appraise...
2. exercitives: excercise powers, rights, influence: appoint, vote, order,
urge, advise, warn...
3. commissives: commit oneself: declare intention, promise, espousals
(siding w/ s'one)
4. behabitives: misc. social behavior: greet, apologize, congratulate,
commend, curse...
5. expositives: relate utterance to course of discussion: reply, concede,
illustrate, assume, postulate...

Austin makes for good reading!

(For illustration of some of the above classes, see my next post on the Jn
20:22 thread.)

God Bless!

Joe A. Friberg
Arlington, Texas
MA Linguistics
MA Theology candidate

----- Original Message -----
From: David A Bielby <>
To: Biblical Greek <>
Sent: Thursday, October 14, 1999 9:17 AM
Subject: Illocutionary

> Can someone define Illocutionary and Illocuationary?
> David Bielby, Pastor
> Vineyard Christian Fellowship
> Bloomington/Normal, Illinois USA
> Phone: 309-827-8292

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