The Commissive 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’.


In chapter 8, The commissive speech act, we examine a) the form the commissive takes as a speech act and its manifestations in Irish, b) the felicity conditions under which these commissive speech acts can be successful, and c) the range of commissive speech acts of Irish and their distinguishing features. The commissive speech act can take on a range of linguistic manifestations. While a commissive commitment can be made to oneself, typically, it is made to another person. In this instance, the role of H, then, is essential as, if the commitment is made by S to H, and H does not understand, hear or accept the commitment made, then it is taken as invalid. In other words, one needs H’s as a cooperating discourse partner. We specify a variety of conditions necessary for the success of the commissive speech act. Importantly, these conditions rely on extra-linguistic knowledge, both from context and from common ground. Therefore, context and the shared knowledge in common ground function as an extra-linguistic knowledge source for the success of the commissive speech act.

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Nolan, Brian . The Commissive 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.44649. Apr 2024

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