Speech acts in corpus pragmatics
Making the case for an extended taxonomy
In corpus pragmatics, most of the research into speech acts still tends to be limited to working with the original, highly abstract, speech-act taxonomies devised by ordinary language philosophers like Austin and Searle. The aim of this article is to illustrate how the use of such restricted taxonomies may lead to oversimplified or potentially misleading impressions regarding the communicative functions expressed in spoken interaction, and to demonstrate how a more elaborate taxonomy, the DART taxonomy (Weisser, 2018), may help us gain better insights into the pragmatic strategies that occur in dialogues. To this end, I will draw on a small sample of dialogues, both from a task-oriented domain and unconstrained interaction, and contrast selected speech-act categorisations on the basis of Searle’s and the DART taxonomy, demonstrating the advantages that arise from using a more fine-grained taxonomy to describe complex verbal exchanges.
Keywords: speech act theory, speech-act taxonomy, corpus pragmatics, appliability
Published online: 17 November 2020
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