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Speech act theory and universal grammar


Teoria dos atos de fala
Atos ilocucionários
Linguagem natural
Gramática universal

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VANDERVEKEN, Daniel. Speech act theory and universal grammar. Manuscrito: Revista Internacional de Filosofia, Campinas, SP, v. 30, n. 2, p. 357–381, 2007. Disponível em: Acesso em: 17 jun. 2024.


Are there universal transcendent features that any natural language must possess in order to provide for its human speakers adequate means of expression and of communication of their conceptual thoughts? As Frege, Austin and Searle pointed out, complete speech acts of the type called illocutionary acts, and not isolated propositions, are the primary units of meaning in the use and comprehension of language. Thus it is in the very performance of illocutionary acts that speakers express and communicate their thoughts. For this reason, speech act theory contributes to the theory of linguistic universals in formulating the necessary and universal laws governing the successful performance and satisfaction of illocutionary acts in language use and comprehension. I will argue that the logical form of illocutionary acts imposes certain formal constraints on the logical structure of a possible natural language as well as on the mind of competent speakers. In particular, certain syntactic, semantic and pragmatic features are universal because they are indispensable. Moreover, in order to perform and understand illocutionary acts, competent speakers and hearers must have certain mental states and abilities which are in general traditionally related to the faculty of reason.




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