Volume 10, 1997

Cognitive Semantics I

Louise Röska-Hardy
Pages 67-85

Language Acts and Action

Speech act theorists agree unanimously that language or speech acts are a species of intentional action. I argue that J.R. Searle’s influential speech act theory actually precludes our explaining sayings truly as doings, i.e. as linguistic actions, because it assimilates speakers’ beliefs, desires and intentions to the linguistic meaning of expression types. An adequate explanation of speech acts as intentional performances must treat the meanings of expression types and speakers’ beliefs, desires and intentions as separate, but co-ordinate factors in the production, understanding and characterization of linguistic acts.