AuthorLARSON, THOMAS GEORGE.
KeywordsSpeech acts (Linguistics)
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis thesis argues that, in addition to the concept of the Illocutionary use of sentences to perform speech acts, there is an aspect of language use that has been, for the most part, overlooked in the literature. We call this aspect Non-Illocutionary Use, and offer in the thesis a theory of such use. We argue that Non-Illocutionary Use does not replace a theory of meaning, but rather that it shows more clearly where a theory of meaning fits in an overall description of language. As a result, the concept of meaning takes on a somewhat diminished role. Moreover, we show that meaning can be best thought of as simply the "content" aspect of Non-Illocutionary use. The concept of Non-Illocutionary Use is argued to be descriptively relevant at four levels: at the lexical, the phrasal, the clausal and the sentential levels. At the sentential level, it augments rather than conflicts with the notion of Illocutionary Use. In order to adequately describe the Non-Illocutionary Use of expressions in a language, we find it necessary to employ nine distinct parameters of such use: these are collectively labeled the Specifications of Non-Illocutionary Use. These nine Specifications are systematized in our theory by means of four Representation Formats, corresponding to the four syntactic levels mentioned above. These Formats serve as the input and the output for a set of compositional rules and a set of contextual strategies which relate the various levels of Non-Illocutionary Use. Thus, we claim that the Non-Illocutionary Use of a complex expression can, with the aid of contextual features in some instances, be determined from the Non-Illocutionary Uses of its constituent parts. Our theory thus is a contribution to an understanding of the infinite scope of language. In addition, we offer a Taxonomy of Non-Illocutionary Uses, as well as a definition of such use. Finally, aspects of other approaches to language use are discussed briefly.