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The total speech act: Infelicities and cultural variations. The contribution of women anthropologists

Authors
  • de Salvador Agra, Saleta
Type
Published Article
Journal
Intercultural Pragmatics
Publisher
De Gruyter
Publication Date
May 11, 2022
Volume
19
Issue
3
Pages
321–344
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1515/ip-2022-3003
Source
De Gruyter
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

The first receptions of the Speech Act Theory (SAT) featuring women emerged on anthropological grounds. Ruth Finnegan paves the way with the first ethnographic research based on Austinian categories, opening the reflection to problems derived from the empirical observation of ordinary language. Since then, the need to take into account the linguistic experience from its cultural varieties has given rise to theoretical variations. In this text, I propose to review three pioneering studies (Finnegan, Rosaldo and Ochs) that, from cultural anthropology, have questioned the theoretical contributions of the three highest philosophical representatives of SAT (Austin, Searle and Grice). My objective will be twofold. On the one hand, to present these works under the common lens of a critique capable of bringing to light the infelicities that arose thanks to intercultural translation, and, on the other, to interpret them as a good expansion of the range of infelicities that Austin lists as those that doing things with speech could suffer from. The conclusion is the cultural validation, as well as the broadening, of the classic notion of “total speech act”, at the same time that the recognition of interdisciplinary dialog and the contribution of women to SAT come into play.

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