Expanding Searle's analysis of interrogative speech acts: A systematic classification based on preparatory conditions

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In John Searle’s original taxonomy of types of illocutionary acts (Searle 1969) he points out that some kinds of illocutionary acts are special cases of other kinds, giving the example that questions are in fact special cases of requests. In that way, a “real question” is a request for information that the sender does not already possess, whereas an “exam question” is a request for information that the sender has already access to. This paper aims to take this rudimentary analysis some steps further and attempt a taxonomy of interrogative speech acts based on sets of more specific preparatory conditions such as “sender expects / does not expect response” and “sender knows / does not know the requested information”. The paper shows that a system of these sets of preparatory conditions can generate illocutionary definitions of a range of different types of interrogative speech acts.

Keywords: Illocutionary acts, Speech acts, Taxonomy, Preparatory conditions
Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Studies in Language
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)7-19
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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