ACTING AND CONVERSING

Posting by Ade Tuty Anggriany | 2:45 PM

1. SPEECH ACTS : AUSTIN AND SEARLE
One thing that many utterances do is make propositions: they do this mainly in the form of either statements or questions, but other grammatical forms are also possible. Then, the utterances that are connected in some ways with events or happenings in a possible world are called as constantive utterances.

A different kind of proposition is the ethical proposition. This proposition may be true or false, but the purpose of the proposition is not the truth or falsity; their real purpose is to serve as guides to behavior in some world other.

Another kind of utterances is the phatic type or phatic communion that the purpose is to assert the affective value as indicators that one person is willing to talk to another and that a channel of communication is either being opened or being kept open. According to Malinowsky (1923), phatic communion is a type of speech in which ties of union are created by a mere exchange of words. In such communion, words do not convey meanings. Instead, they fulfill a social function and that is their principal aim.

The philosopher, J. L, Austin (1962), distinguished still another kind of utterances: performative utterances. In using performative utterances, a person is not just saying something, but is actually doing something if certain real world conditions are met. Here, Austin also mention felicity condition that performative must meet to be successful. First, a conventional procedure must exist for doing whatever is to be done, and that procedure must specify who must say and do what and in what circumstances. Second, all participants must properly execute this procedure and carry it through to completion. Finally, the necessary thoughts, feelings, and intentions must be present in all parties. In general, the spoken part of the total act, the actual speech act, will take the grammatical form of having a first person subject and a verb in the present tense, or maybe include the word “hereby”.

Austin also acknowledges that there are less explicit performatives, that are lack of any associated conventional procedure and there is no way of specifying the circumstances quite so narrowly.

Again, Austin divides performatives into five categories:

  • Verdictives, typified by the giving of a verdict, estimate, grade, or appraisal.
  • Excercitives, the exercising of powers, rights, or influences in an appointing, ordering, warning, or advising.
  • Commissives, typified by promising or undertaking, and committing one to do something by, for example, announcing an intention or espousing a cause.
  • Behabitives, having to do with such matters as apologizing, congratulating, blessing, cursing, or challenging.
  • Expositives, a term used to refer to how one makes utterances fit into an argument or exposition.

According to Searle (1969), we perform different kinds of acts when we speak. The utterances we use are locutions. Most locutions express some intent that speakers have. They therefore have an illocutionary force. A speaker also can use different locutions to achieve the same illocutionary force or use one locution for many different purposes.

If we look at how we perform certain kinds of acts rather than at how particular types of utterances perform acts, Searle has indicated, categorize at least six ways in which we can make request or give orders even directly.
  • There are utterance types that focus on the hearer’s ability to do something.
  • Those that focus on the speaker’s wish or desire that the hearer will do something
  • Those that focus on the hearer’s actually doing something
  • Those that focus on the hearer’s willingness or desire to do something.
  • Those that focus on the reasons for doing something
  • Those that embed one of the above types inside another.

Searle has concentrated his work on speech acts on how a hearer perceives a particular utterance to have the force it has, what he calls the ‘uptake’ of an utterance. For Searle, there are 5 rules that govern promise-making.
  • The propositional content rules, is that the words must predicate a future action of the speaker.
  • The preparatory rules, which require that both the person promising and person to whom the promise is made must want the act done, and that would not otherwise be done. Moreover, the person promising believes he or she can do what is promised.
  • The sincerity rules, that require the promiser to intend to perform the act, that is to be placed under some kind of obligation.
  • The essential rules, that said the uttering of the words counts as undertaking an obligation to perform the action.

In contrast to Austin, who focused his attention on how speakers realize their intention in speaking, Searle focuses on how listeners respond to utterances, that is, how one person tries to figure our how another is using a particular utterances.

2. COOPERATION AND FACE: GRICE AND GOFFMAN
We can view utterances as acts of various kinds and the exchanges of utterances that we call conversations as exchanges of acts, not just exchanges of words, although they are this too. According to philosophers such as Grice, we are able to converse with one another because we recognize common goals in conversation and specific ways of achieving these goals. Grice (1975, p. 45) maintains that the overriding principle in conversation is one he calls the cooperative principle. Grice lists four maxims that follow from the cooperative principle: quantity, quality, relation, and manner. The maxim of quantity requires you to make your contribution as informative as is required. The maxim of quality requires you not to say what you believe to be false or that for which you lack adequate evidence. Relation is the simple injunction: be relevant. Manner requires you to avoid obscurity of expression and ambiguity, and to be brief and orderly. Maxims are involved in all kinds of rational cooperative behavior. Everyday speech often occurs in less than ideal circumstances. Grice points out those speakers do not always follow the maxims he has described, they may implicate something rather different from what they actually say. They may violate, exploit, or opt out of one of the maxims, or two of the maxims may clash in a particular instance.
When we try to apply any set of principles, no matter what kind they are, to show how utterances work when sequenced into what we call conversations, we run into a variety of difficulties. Ordinary casual conversation is possibly the most common of all language activities. Conversation is a cooperative activity in the Gricean sense, one that depends on speakers and listeners sharing a set of assumptions about what is happening. If anything went in conversation, nothing would happen. Conversation makes use of the cooperative principle; speakers and listeners are guided by considerations of quantity, quality, relation, manner, and the process of implicature which allows them to figure out relationships between the said and the unsaid. Conversation is cooperative also in the sense that speakers and listeners tend to accept each other for what they claim to be: that is, they accept the face that the other offers. That face may vary according to circumstances, for at one time the face you offer me may be that of a ‘close friend’, on another occasion a ‘teacher’, and on a third occasion a ‘young woman’ but it is a face which I will generally accept.

Goffman (1955), has called ace-work, the work of presenting faces to each other, protecting our own face, and protecting the other’s face. Conversation therefore involves a considerable amount of role-playing: we choose a role for ourselves in each conversation discover the role or roles the other or the others are playing, and then proceed to construct a little dramatic encounter, much of which involves respecting other’s faces. All the world is a stage, and we are players. The listener not only has to establish what it was that was said, but also has to construct, from an assortment of clues, the affective state of the speaker and a profile of his identity.’ The affective state of the speaker’ and ‘a profile of his identity’ are much the same as what I have called ‘face’, for they are concerned with what the speaker is trying to communicate about himself or herself on a particular occasion.

1 Comment
  1. Anonymous June 20, 2012 at 10:28 PM  

    sourcenya mana nih?