(1,986 words)

The motivation for the distinction between performatives and statements is that the former constitute events rather than descriptions of events or states of affairs (Searle 1969, 1971). In other words, the act of uttering a performative is itself the action purported by the speaker. For example, the performative utterance in (1), when issued by a lawyer in the context of a court session, amounts to registering an objection rather than reporting or describing an event of objecting taking place at speech time.






‘I object!’

The major difference between per…

Cite this page
Mustafa Mughazy, “Performatives”, in: Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics, Managing Editors Online Edition: Lutz Edzard, Rudolf de Jong. Consulted online on 22 January 2018 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004177024, 20090831

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