You are on page 1of 1

Speech Act Theory Checklist

What to look for, and how, when it comes to analyzing speech acts in a text.
Locution / Locutionary: what does the speaker say?
Illocution /Illocutionary:
o First, what is the speaker doing by saying this? Use a gerund. Tip! It may help to
provide a preface to the phrase, such as I hereby..
o Secondly, analyse the mood and the communicative function employed by the
locutor to decide on the directness of the speech act.
Is this the case?
Indicative: statements
Imperative: commands
Interrogative: questions
If it is, then this is just a direct speech act
If it isnt, then you should identify an indirect speech act.
o Thirdly, decide whether the performative verb is present or not. Has the verb
denoting the action been uttered/written? If it has, then this is an explicit
performative. Do you need to add I hereby to make the action explicit? Then
this is clearly a case of implicit performative.
Perlocution /Perlocutionary: what is the speaker trying to achieve? What is the intended
effect of this speech act? (Remember that it is not the actual result, the interlocutor may
choose to do otherwise)
Prof. Marina Cantarutti (August 2011)