Chat(ter box) :-)

Week 8 Theory: Speech Act Theory

L. Austin, a British philosopher of languages, came up with the speech act theory in 1975 to explain how people use language to assert things as well as do things. He explains how language (sounds, symbols, and words) equals action, intention of it or the lack thereof. It’s interesting because one of the examples might be if you ask your child if he/she did the dishes and he/she responds to you with: “Mm…” The sound, “Mm…” isn’t a word itself, but holds emotion behind it, which signifies what he/she might be feeling, or even what he/she might have done, or will do next. It signifies actions. Sounds, though they may not be words, tell a lot about the person, action, and emotion—especially given the situation.

My inability to work in the office stripped me of this luxury: verbal communication. I was forced to text, chat, and email my coworkers, making it nearly impossible to convey emotion. I was unable to express my sorrow, or even level of sickness, making it seemingly difficult for my coworkers to understand my situation. Texted words do not convey integrity or emotion whatsoever so it was difficult to explain myself. Also, when talking over the phone or in person, you can hear the sounds someone makes and hear emotion inadvertently through their voice. You can’t text sounds, or if you do, it seems pretty unprofessional. Hopefully next week will be better though and I will have a chance to express myself verbally and in person.

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