Glossary of Linguistic Terms

Speech Act


A speech act is an act that a speaker performs when making an utterance, including the following:

  • A general act (illocutionary act) that a speaker performs, analyzable as including:
    • the uttering of words (utterance acts)
    • making reference and predicating (propositional acts), and
    • a particular intention in making the utterance (illocutionary force)
  • An act involved in the illocutionary act, including utterance acts and propositional acts
  • The production of a particular effect in the addressee (perlocutionary act)