Categorizing expressive speech acts in the pragmatically annotated SPICE Ireland corpus

Patricia Ronan 1
  • 1 Université de Lausanne


Expressive speech acts are one of the five basic categories of speech acts identified by Searle (1976). Expressives remain underresearched, though select categories of expressive speech acts, especially offering thanks and compliments, have received more extensive attention. An overall classification of expressive speech acts on the basis of corpus data has not yet been carried out. The current study provides a first survey of different types of expressive speech acts on the basis of three categories of spoken Irish English of different levels of formality: broadcast discussion, classroom discussion and face-to-face interaction. The data are extracted from the pragmatically tagged SPICE-Ireland corpus, a member of the International Corpus of English-family of corpora. The aim of the current study is to offer an overview and classification of expressives in the corpus material. Eight distinct subcategories of expressive speech acts are identified in this study. These categories are agreement, disagreement, volition, offering thanks, apologies, exclamations, expressions of sorrow and greetings.

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