Language and Cognition Department, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
 by Daniel Haun

Metalanguage for Speech Acts

People of all cultures have some degree of concern with categorizing types of communicative social action. All languages have words with meanings like speak, say, talk, complain, curse, promise, accuse, nod, wink, point and chant. But the exact distinctions they make will differ in both quantity and quality. How is communicative social action categorised across languages and cultures? The goal of this task is to establish a basis for cross-linguistic comparison of native metalanguages for social action.


This entry has been superceded by the 2009 version.

How to cite this resource?

Enfield, N.J. & Stephen C. Levinson. 2008. Metalanguage for speech acts. In Asifa Majid (ed.), Field Manual Volume 11, 77-79. Nijmegen: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics.