The Question as a Type of Directive Speech Act

The Speech Acts of Irish - Utterance, Situation, and Meaning - Brian Nolan

Brian Nolan [+-]
Technological University Dublin (retired)
Dr. Brian Nolan is a retired Head of School of Informatics and Engineering at the Technological University Dublin, in Ireland. His research interests include linguistic theory at the morpho-syntactic semantic interface, argument structure and valence, constructions in grammar, event structure in language, the architecture of the lexicon and computational approaches to language processing, computational linguistics, speech act theory, context and common ground. His linguistic work has been in the functional linguistic model of Role and Reference Grammar and he has published extensively internationally. In 2012 Dr. Nolan published his book with Equinox on the linguistic structure of Irish in a Role and Reference Grammar account entitled The structure of Modern Irish: A functional account. In 2013, Benjamins published his co-edited volume Linking constructions into functional linguistics – The role of constructions in grammar in their Studies in Language Companion series. His co-edited Benjamin volume on computational linguistics and linguistic theory, Language processing and grammars: The role of functionally oriented computational models was published in 2014, also in their Studies in Language Companion series. He also co-edited a Benjamins book on ‘Causation, transfer and permission’ in linguistic theory, which appeared in early 2015. In January 2017, Benjamins published his co-edited book on complex predication entitled Argument realisation in complex predicates and complex events: Verb verb constructions at the syntax semantic interface. In 2019, Dr. Nolan co-edited a volume with Cambridge Scholars Publishing on the ‘Linguistic perspectives on the construction of meaning and knowledge: The linguistic, pragmatic, ontological and computational dimensions’.


Questions are directive speech acts and an attempt by S to get H to provide an answer to the question. In chapter 7, The question as a type of directive speech act, we characterise in substantial detail the pragmatic dimensions of the question forms of Irish and the various functions of these questions. When S asks a question of H, S requests that H perform a speech act of providing an answer-response to S’s question. Importantly, the form of the response is determined by the propositional content of the question. Irish has three questions forms: alternate questions, polar yes-no interrogatives, and information questions. Questions are best understood as part of a dialogue with a chain of speech acts. The required response to one of these question forms may be constrained in certain ways depending on the nature of the question. Therefore, to gain a more complete insight into the question forms and their functions, we consider the nature of answers given in response.

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Nolan, Brian . The Question as a Type of Directive Speech Act. The Speech Acts of Irish - Utterance, Situation, and Meaning. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Apr 2024. ISBN 9781800504288. Date accessed: 06 Jun 2023 doi: 10.1558/equinox.44648. Apr 2024

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