Deskewing the Searlean Picture: New Speech Act Ontology for Linguistics
By Dietmar Zaefferer
The overall aim of this paper is to present a speech act ontology that is motivated by general assumptions about the nature of human language and implicational universals about the grammatical coding of illocutionary force (sentence mood markers). In particular, I want to show five things:
First, that the Searlean picture is skewed in that it misrepresents universally attested distinctions, overemphasizes non-universal aspects of human language and misses important generalizations; second, that a linguistically more fruitful picture can be developed on the basis of implicational universals that constrain the range of possible codings of sentence mood and other modalities; third, that this linguistic picture can be grounded on very few elementary and universally valid assumptions about the nature of human language and its functions; fourth, that this grammatically motivated reconstruction helps in analyzing intricate syntactic patterns that interrelate German clause types; and last, that the Searlean picture can be embedded into the linguistic picture in such a way that nothing gets lost in the deschewing process that merits preservation.
Keywords: speech act classification, clause types, sentence mood, Searle, ontology
Source: Semantics Archive