Introduction and question

Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Sun Dec 5 17:13:32 UTC 1999

This is a very puzzling message to me. We certainly don't want o be spared
definitions and/or thoery in a scholarly discussion group. (Maybe we could
just wallow in data?)

More substantively, if "flames" often focus on syntax, how can such a focus
indicate that a message was understood? I understand the syntax of quite a
lot of things I don't "understand" (in the more global sense of "get the
meaning of" -  let alone the more subtle "understand the full pragmatics


>Spare us the definitions and theory PUHLEEZ.  Just because you know a bunch
>of theory doesn't mean your smart.
>You're own argument proves you utterly incorrect by the fact that the
>audience responded with a counter-attack on the use of syntax.  Its a common
>flame technique to focus on the syntax of the other person's flame.  That
>indicates the audience DID understand the speaker's intended message!
>The audience's perlocutionary act in response to the writer's locutionary
>act was a parry, thus indicating the intended message was understood; ergo,
>the period served its purpose.
>Ergo - Consequently; therefore.  (American Heritage Dictionary).
>Parry - "2. An evasive answer or action."  (American Heritage Dictionary).
>----- Original Message -----
>From: <P2052 at AOL.COM>
>Sent: Saturday, December 04, 1999 12:25 AM
>Subject: Re: Introduction and question
>> I think an argument such as is presented here falls under the realm of
>> pragmatics, which is concerned with the communicative function of
>> or its situational context. This particular utterance, an insult disguised
>> a tag question,  constitutes an indirect speech act.   To use Austin's
>>  the illocutionary act (speaker/ writer's intent (insult) is encoded in a
>> question ( locutionary act), and the target audience's reaction
>> (perlocutionary act) indicates that the speaker's intended message was
>> 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.
>>                         PAT!

Dennis R. Preston
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston at
Office: (517)353-0740
Fax: (517)432-2736

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