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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Is the Linguistic Bhāvanā an Illocutionary Force?

The concept of Illocutionary Force seems to be of use for a better understanding of Kumārila's linguistic bhāvanā. In fact, this is not purely a morphological entity, that is, it is not just the same as the optative and the other verbal endings expressing it. On the other hand, it is also not a 'referent' in the sense of a physical entity. Rather, it is a speech act having an intrinsic force. Austin usually calls commands "illocutionary speech acts", because they are intended to have a performative character. However, the Veda is believed by Mīmāṃsakas to be authorless, hence the speaker and his intention cannot play any role. So, the distinction between illocutionary and perlocutionary speech acts fades. The latter are speech acts causing effects on their listener, such as the fact of being incited to act, or of becoming embarassed or alarmed. They are not always clearly distinguished and have been rarely used in linguistic theories. A linguistic bhāvanā has certainly perlocutionary effects, but there cannot be –I think– a "perlocutionary force" since perlocutionary speech acts are not intended to be such and are only judged through their consequences.

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