Speech Art of Suggestion

A number of speech acts, such as requests, compliments, refusals, apologies, complaints, and greetings have been extensively investigated in the area of cross-cultural pragmatics (e.g. Blum-Kulka et al., 1989, Cohen et al., 1986; Eisenstein and Bodman, 1986; Trosborg, 1987; Wolfson, 1981). In stark contrast, the speech act of suggestion has not been as widely investigated (cf. Schmidt, et al., 1995). Because of its general lack of study in the field of second language acquisition, it is necessary to provide a definition of the speech act of suggestion and theoretically place its investigation within the scope of the current study.

According to Searle (1976), suggestions are a part of the group of directive speech acts in which the speaker’s purpose is to convince the hearer to commit him/herself to some future course of action. Directive speech acts imply that the speaker’s intention and attitude when performing an utterance in some way provides a reason for the hearer’s action (Bach and Harnish, 1979). A relevant feature of this group of speech acts is that, as opposed to other speech acts, a necessary interaction between the speaker and the hearer is required to get the speech act performed (Searle, 1976). Both Alcon and Safont (2001) and Trosborg (1995) point out that only in the case of directives is the hearer’s subsequent act considered part of the speaker’s intention; both the interlocutors’ presence and response to the speaker’s intention are fully required.According to research, directives contain different speech acts such as requests, commands, suggestions, ordering, and pleading (Haverkate, 1984; Schmidt & Richards, 1980; Thomas, 1995) and are differentiated by the force of attempt to impose a certain action …

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