Wurzeln Des Rechts In Der Sprache: Eine Entdeckung Des Sprechaktes Im Jahre 1909

J.L. Austin is generally recognized as the first scholar to discover that speech functions as action. Yet Austin did not begin to formulate his theory of speech acts until 1939. In this paper, it is shown that a German lawyer, Rudolf Henle , in fact had already discovered and written on the "speech-act" nature of language usage in 1909/1910. While struggling with problems inherent to legally binding declarations of will as uttered by contracting parties , Henle noticed that certain expressions operate as actions, and thus that we indeed "do things with words". What Henle originally refers to as an executional declaration , later became known as the "speech act". Henle also discusses the reason why language can function as action. He notes that, even beyond the moral or legal context, speech acts, predominately promises, can be found in our language
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