Language & Communication 22 (4):421-436 (2002)

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Abstract
This paper argues for a reorientation of speech act theory towards an Austin-inspired conception of speech acts as context-changing social actions. After an overview of the role assigned to context by Austin, Searle, and other authors in pragmatics, it is argued that the context of a speech act should be considered as constructed as opposed to merely given, limited as opposed to extensible in any direction, and objective as opposed to cognitive. The compatibility of such claims with each other is discussed. Finally, the context-changing role of speech acts is analyzed differentiating between the illocutionary and the perlocutionary dimension.
Keywords Speech act  Context  Appropriateness  Presupposition  Context change
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