Speech Acts

  1. You have shifted into a new house and are not familiar with the area. You are in need of a gardener who could visit you on a monthly basis to attend to the trimming and fertilizing of plants and also mowing the lawn. You notice that one of your neighbours down the lane, whom you have not spoken to before, owns a well-maintained garden and you wish to ask her whether she could recommend a capable gardener.

Explain very briefly writing out what you will say according to the rules of speech acts. Naming these rules is of utmost importance in showcasing your knowledge in speech acts. Describe how you would make the request. You should consider how you will prepare the ground and also whether you will use a direct speech act or an indirect one.

  1. What principles / maxims are the participant(s) in the following excerpts, flouting/violating or following? Provide a brief description for each instance.

  1. (A conversation between a counter clerk and a customer at a post office)

Counter clerk: (raises his eyes, looks at the customer with no facial


Customer: (offering the national identity card) Could you check for me whether I have any parcels to collect?

Counter clerk: (checks the details on the card, clears his throat, wipes his nose with a tissue, turns to the shelf to get a parcel, then another parcel).

Customer: Anymore?

Counter clerk: (turns and gets a third parcel, stamps them all and hands them over)

Customer: Is that all?

Counter Clerk: Are you going to take all the parcels in the post office?

Customer: OK…. I see…thank you very much!

  1. (Two ladies at a party)

Pamela: Where is your son studying?

Susanne: He is working.

Pamela: You have such a big son, don’t you?

Susan: Well ……… yes.

Pamela: Then, how old are you?

Susanne: Oh no.

Pamela: What’s wrong?

Susanne: Why are you asking that?

Pamela: Just asking. Nothing else…

Susanne: It’s going to rain, isn’t it?

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