Les actes de langage indirects sont-ils tous conventionnels ?
This paper focuses on the variety of ways to communicate a directive illocutionary act in modern French. I argue that every type of directive speech act can be regarded as stemming from a convention, be it a linguistic one, for on-record speech acts, or a discursive one, for off-record speech acts. The various acceptations of the “conventionality” applied to on-record indirect speech acts (ISAs) are reconsidered. More specifically, I claim that the distinction, in terms of politeness, between on-record and off-record ISAs does not coincide with the opposition between conventional and non-conventional speech acts. Second, I show that it is necessary to identify two types of conventions or communicative strategies to perform off-record directives. The first consists in referring to a reason to act; the second is evoking the requested action.
Keywords: Indirect speech acts, conventions, allusion., reasons to act, directives
Published online: 30 November 2012