Speech Acts are Language as Actions
With this understanding, we need to realize our ability as human beings to make things happen around us.We have the power to create major shifts not only in the world that we interact in as a whole, but also in our day-to-day lives.Language then becomes something more than just spoken word, but an action.
Speech acts are simply language as a form of action.We perform an action by uttering particular words to showcase our intentions.A basic example would be purchasing something from a store.When you go up to the front of the store, you say, “I’d like to buy this loaf of bread.” By saying these words, you are already performing the speech act of purchasing the bread without having to do any gestures of pointing out the bread.Same goes when a pastor christens a baby.As he pronounces, “I now baptize you in the name of the Father,” he is performing the act as he utters the words.
Even indirect speech acts contain power and result in action.When you say, “It’s very cold in here” to your roommate, then you are, in a sense, doing the speech act of request.It may not be a statement of order and is not necessarily imposing, but it would almost always result in the act of someone adhering to your request, as in this case, your roommate turning off the air conditioner.
Language is more than just a mere utterance of words in order to describe what is already there, but rather, an action that creates a new reality for us.This opens up a refreshing thought that language gives us the freedom to design our own lives.
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