Introduction and question

P2052 at AOL.COM P2052 at AOL.COM
Sat Dec 4 05:25:00 UTC 1999

I think an argument such as is presented here falls under the realm of
pragmatics, which is concerned with the communicative function of language,
or its situational context. This particular utterance, an insult disguised as
a tag question,  constitutes an indirect speech act.   To use Austin's terms,
 the illocutionary act (speaker/ writer's intent (insult) is encoded in a tag
question ( locutionary act), and the target audience's reaction
(perlocutionary act) indicates that the speaker's intended message was missed
altogether since the intended audience focussed, instead, on the syntactic
presentation (via the issue of the question mark).

The syntactic form, then, does not necessarily reflect the intended
function--that is, specifically in the case of indirect speech acts, the
two--form and function--are  independent of each other; thus, I agree with
the intended listener that a question mark should have been used.

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