Unspeakable Speech Acts

Michael Israel israel at LING.UCSD.EDU
Fri May 9 04:53:42 UTC 1997

Hartmut Haberland tells us
> of Karen Ebert's work about "missing"
>speech act verbs in Fering (a North Frisian dialect): there are speech acts
>in Fering which do not have a name (thus cannot be performed with a
>performative verb) but which still exist.

For whatever it's worth...

There are also speech acts which by their very nature preclude a performative
verb, whether or not they have a name.  I recall John Searle pointing out
in a seminar that while you can always drop hints, if you say "I hereby
hint that... (whatever),"  whatever it is  you're doing, it won't be hinting.
The performative verb in this case antiperforms (so to speak) the
speech act it purports to perform.

Lies and insinuations work similarly, I think.  I'm sure there are others
as well.

Michael Israel

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