This book collects seventeen essays published between 1984 and 2020, in which Marina Sbisà develops her distinctive approach to speech acts and related pragmatic phenomena. The essays examine the categories of speech act theory with the aim of providing an accurate analysis of how speech can be action.
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This book collects seventeen essays published between 1984 and 2020, in which Marina Sbisà develops her distinctive approach to speech acts and related pragmatic phenomena. Drawing inspiration from the work of J. L. Austin, the essays examine the categories of speech act theory and apply these categories in the context of natural discourse and conversation, with the aim of providing an accurate analysis of how speech can be action. Sbisà devotes particular
attention to normative aspects of language and language use: speech acts reshape the normative context in which they occur by assigning or unassigning deontic properties to relevant parties. Emphasis is placed on the normative aspect of linguistically mandated presuppositions as well as the rational grounds of
implicature. The conventionalist view of speech acts developed here turns on the role of intersubjective agreement in deontic updating, in a framework that shifts focus from single utterances to discursive sequences and conversational interaction. This view challenges the main tenets of a Gricean intentionalist understanding of speech act performance, paving the way for a theory of speech actions centred on the normatively transformative power of illocution. Throughout the essays, examples and
applications are given to illustrate how the view put forward contributes to understanding the social and political dimensions of linguistic activity, such as hidden persuasive strategies, power imbalances both within and outside the context of conversation, and the relevance of language and
discourse to gender issues.