ERIC Number: ED269974
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980
Reference Count: 0
Defensive Speech, or, Can We Use Speech Acts in Language Education?
Using a language effectively involves both expressing oneself and acting upon one's surroundings. Linguistic theory has focused on the study of speech acts, but speech activity is basically pragmatic, that is, the conversational context determines the individual speech acts and not the other way around. Theorizing about the speech act independent of the situation in which it occurs ignores certain essential aspects of language use, particularly manipulatory language use. Language teaching in schools is manipulatory in that the conversations undertaken are in the form of a language game, and choice (the choice of the next speaker, topic, length of contribution, and teaching materials, for example) is given primarily to the teacher. It is possible to take classroom conversations out of their pseudo-neutral context, which ignores the conversation's essential relationship to its external conditions, and expose the manipulatory aspect of speech acts. Some techniques for doing this are to teach learners to thwart or counter the manipulatory intentions of the counterpart in conversation by using the same techniques in reverse, a kind of counter-manipulation. Students can be taught to answer questions with a counter-question or to give an evasive answer. This technique can be especially helpful to immigrants who may need to defend themselves against prying officials and news-seekers. (MSE)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: In: Papers in Language Learning and Language Acquisition. Papers presented at the Nordic Conference on Applied Linguistics (2nd, Hanasaari, Espoo, Finland, November 23-25, 1979); see FL 015 708.