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A pragmatic analysis of commissives in some selected American political texts

Author: 
A pragmatic analysis of commissives in some selected American political texts
Subject Area: 
Social Sciences and Humanities
Abstract: 

The four commissive acts (promise, threat, guarantee, pledge) are found in most languages. They are considered as important acts in maintaining the social relationships between individuals in any society. These acts can be performed in different fields of life, such as: social, religion, and political relationships, whether they can be used explicitly or implicitly. But, sometimes, an ambiguity may arise in applying the previous acts in political speeches because these acts happened between the presidents and their peoples. Thus, in order to clarify this ambiguity, the best way is to analyze the text pragmatically. This paper aims to analyze specific commissive acts (promise, threat, guarantee and pledge) in Some Selected American Political Speeches. A language studies the speeches of four American presidents: George Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Baraq Obama. This study deals with the problem of applying the Speech Acts Theory in political speeches. It also attempts to reveal the overlapping of these acts in political speeches. In order to suit the objective of the work, this study attempts to modify John Searle's Felicity Conditions and semantic rules of promise for the acts of threatening, guaranteeing and pledging by extracting some semantic rules for the Speech Act of threatening, guaranteeing and pledging and taking into account the general framework that is proposed by John Searle. This study also proposes a specific classification for these acts, in order to overcome the overlapping and ambiguity.

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