A typology of speech acts for British English


macro class world/word relationship psychological state
differences in
point or purpose
representatives commit speaker to
something being the
case, so as to fit
the words to the world
believe that p swear, hypothesise, claim,
announce, insist, forecast,
directives attempt to get H
to do something, so
as to fit the world
to the words
want that p ask, beg, command, bid,
order, forbid, recommend, suggest,
invite, challenge, direct,
instruct, request
expressives express a psychological
state (no dynamic
word/world relationship)
apologise, thank,
deplore, pardon,
congratulate, regret,
commissives commit speaker to act,
so as to fit the
world to the words
intend that p promise, pledge,
swear, volunteer,
offer, vow, threaten
declarations by uttering you
actually fit the
world to the words
wed, baptise, christian,
name, define, call, dub,
based on Coulthard (1985: 24-25 COULTHARD, Malcolm, 1985. An introduction to Discourse Analysis. London: Longman. )