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HEARERS, OVERHEARERS, AND CLARK & CARLSON'S INFORMATIVE ANALYSIS Keith Allan Monash University Clark & Carlson 1982 claim that 'every traditional illocutionary act is performed by means of an informative' ; they therefore propose an additional initial informative illocution to every speech act analysis envisaged by previous theories. I show that C&C's analysis is unjustified; they apparently confuse perlocutionary effects of utterances or cooperative expectations from participants—and even the communicative presumption —with speakers' illocutionary intentions.* Clark & Carlson 1982 (hereafter C&C) draw attention to the fact that standard accounts of speech acts treat the hearer, H, as if the speaker, S, picks out a single individual and addresses the utterance, U, to him.1 C&C correctly point out that there are many occasions for which this is too simplistic a notion of 'hearer'; their solution is to distinguish H as a direct addressee vs. H as a ratified participant (cf. Goffman 1981:131), i.e. a member of the audience participating in the speech act. In the discussion which follows, I shall therefore use the term 'hearer' defined as follows: (1) A hearer, H, is anyone who, at the time of utterance, S reflexivelyintends should recognize the illocutionary point of U.2 Any other person hearing U is either a bystander or an eavesdropper, i.e. an overhearer (C&C, 343), and is beyond the scope ofa linguistic theory of speech acts.3 C&C claim that the only way to accommodate the distinction between addressee and ratified participant within a theory of speech acts is with the hypothesis that 'the speaker performs two types of illocutionary act with each utterance. One is the traditional kind, such as an assertion, promise, or apology; this is directed at the addressees. The other, called an informative, is directed at all participants in the conversation—the addressees and third parties alike. It is intended to inform all of them jointly of the assertion, promise, or apology being directed at the addressees.' (332) * My sincere thanks to Alice Davison for comments on earlier versions of the present paper. Needless to say, she is in no way to blame for the inadequacies of this version. Thanks also go to Herb Clark, whose trenchant criticisms led me to reconsider and refine my arguments. 1 For convenience in exposition, anaphoric reference to S and H will treat them as male; but all observations made here about S and H normally apply to any speaker or hearer, with whatever combination of sex-related chromosomes. 2 S's illocutionary intention in U is a reflexive intention manifest in the illocutionary point of U (cf. Grice 1957, 1968, 1969, Searle 1969, Schiffer 1972, Bach & Harnish 1979). U can have a direct illocution and a number of indirect ones. The illocutionary point of U is the last illocution in line; i.e., it is recognized when H can infer no further illocutions in U. 3 An overhearer can often understand S's message in the same way that H can, but there is no intention on S's part that he should do so. Consequently, he is not necessarily party to the appropriate contextual information relevant to the proper interpretation of U. 509 510LANGUAGE, VOLUME 62, NUMBER 3 (1986) C&C conclude that, 'for each addressee-directed illocutionary act, there is an informative to let the participants know of the act' (352). In other words, prior to all the illocutions which other speech act theorists perceive in an utterance, C&C postulate an (additional) informative; they refer to this as 'the informative analysis'. I intend to show that it is redundant, and that C&C mistake perlocutionary effects of U, or cooperative expectations from participants, for S's illocutionary intentions in U. I will explain what I mean by 'perlocutionary effects' and 'cooperative expectations' as these terms arise in the discussion below. Note that, whenever S is perceived to make a linguistic utterance, it is presumed that he is intending to communicate something; Bach & Harnish (1979:7) have called this the 'communicative presumption'. Because of it, any linguistic utterance is presumed 'informative' in a relatively insignificant sense: H is informed that S has uttered something. When C&C write that 'every traditional illocutionary act is performed by means of an informative' (332), I suspect that they have mistaken the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-0665
Print ISSN
0097-8507
Pages
pp. 509-517
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-01
Open Access
No
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