Is there an illocutionary act of assertion?


  • Mariya Chankova South-West University Neofit Rilski, Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria



assertion, illocutionary act, proposition


This contribution analyzes Cappelen’s No-Assertion view arguing that, although appealing, the No-Assertion view is based on a questionable premise, namely, that assertions are sayings. Austin’s notions of locution and saying are examined, in order to show that illocutionary acts concern aspects not covered by either of the previous two terms. Following a reconstructed definition of illocutionary act from Austin’s writings, I suggest that assertion is an illocutionary act, in that it takes effect after it is taken up by a hearer. I further suggest that in this respect the game analogy fails with regard to assertion, since no rules of the constitutive kind or norms can intrinsically define this act. This proposal is based on the idea that illocutionary act analysis should dispose of any preoccupations with propositions. It argues that expressing propositions was not originally and should not be at the core of speech act theoretic problematic.

Author Biography

Mariya Chankova, South-West University Neofit Rilski, Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria

Mariya Chankova, PhD, is Chief Assistant Professor in French and English at the South-West University, Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria. She teaches courses in French linguistics and translation and English punctuation and orthography and pragmatics. Her research interests include pragmatics, with special emphasis on speech act theory, implicit, conversational implicature, meaning generation, discourse analysis, rhetoric, philosophy of language, multimedia environment and communication, plagiarism, and French translation.


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How to Cite

Chankova, M. (2015). Is there an illocutionary act of assertion?. English Studies at NBU, 1(2), 71–84.




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