Fuck speech acts

Eric McCready, @EVER_3V3R, asked what kind of speech act is expressed by “Fuck the haters.”

This seems like a good excuse to briefly introduce pragmatics, speech acts, and the cooperative principle.

Let’s start with an extremely important fact, the core truth of the linguistic area called pragmatics: All language is behaviour. All language is doing something to produce some kind of effect on some person(s). (This also means that one of the most false and disingenuous sentences in all of English is “I’m just saying,” but you knew that, didn’t you.)

OK, so if we’re doing something when was say something, WTF are we doing? It’s not always the same thing. And actually it’s never just one thing. We owe to J.L. Austin the idea that there are three general kinds of things we’re doing when speaking: Continue reading