Cognitive and Constructional Analysis of the Act of Offering

Annalisa Baicchi


It is undeniable that illocutionary meaning is conveyed through grammatical devices, which is tantamount to saying that it forms part of grammar and that grammatical patterns must receive due consideration in speech acts research. Yet, many illocutions convey meaning that often contrasts with the sentence type (e.g., Hands up! vs. Drink more coffee!), which is indeed utilized to instantiate different speech acts. In addition, the indirectness of illocutions is quickly and automatically derived by the interlocutors, whose capacity is ascribed to inferential processes; yet, scholars have not identified so far the inferential patterns that are activated in the derivation of implicit meaning nor the cognitive motivation of speech acts at discourse level. As insightful as they are, neither of the two strands are able to offer a full-fledged analysis of the interplay between the linguistic structures that speakers utilize to convey their communicative intentions and the mental paths that guide speakers in the verbalization process and hearers in their interpretive tasks


linguistics; English; pragmatics; speech acts

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