(pragmatics) Goal-directed actions performed with words in interpersonal communication, defined primarily with reference to the speaker's intentions and the effects on the listener(s). The term was introduced by Austin and is also associated with Searle in an analytical approach called speech act theory. Some regard speech acts as the basic units of discourse. The term is frequently used synonymously with illocutionary act. See also discourse analysis; locutionary act; performatives; perlocutionary act; compare conversation analysis.
Subjects: Arts and Humanities.