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New Work on Speech Acts$
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Daniel Fogal, Daniel W. Harris, and Matt Moss

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198738831

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198738831.001.0001

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Speech Acts in Discourse Context

Speech Acts in Discourse Context

(p.317) 12 Speech Acts in Discourse Context
New Work on Speech Acts

Craige Roberts

Oxford University Press

This essay sketches an approach to speech acts in which mood does not semantically determine illocutionary force. The conventional content of mood determines the semantic type of the clause in which it occurs, and, given the nature of discourse, that type most naturally lends itself to a particular type of speech act, i.e. one of the three basic types of language game moves—making an assertion (declarative), posing a question (interrogative), or proposing to one’s addressee(s) the adoption of a goal (imperative). There is relative consensus about the semantics of two of these, the declarative and interrogative; and this consensus view is entirely compatible with the present proposal about the relationship between the semantics and pragmatics of grammatical mood. Hence, the proposal is illustrated with the more controversial imperative.

Keywords:   speech acts, illocutionary force, grammatical mood, language game, imperative

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