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What are the functions of speech?

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Answered 2010-11-07 18:17:18


  • It is the way of communicating with others.

  • It serves as the communication in school, at home and other places we are communicating.

  • It is hte best way of communicating with others.

There are 6 known functions of speech:

  1. Expressive utterances express the speaker's feelings e.g. I feel great today.
  2. Directive utterances attempt to get someone to do something, e.g. clean the table.
  3. Referential utterances provide information, e.g. It is nine o'clock.
  4. Metalinguistic utterances comment on language itself, e.g. "context" is a sociolinguistic term.
  5. Poetic utterances focus on aesthetic features of language, e.g. a poem, a rhythm, etc.
  6. Phatic utterances express solidarity and empathy e.g. Hi, how do you do.

And Halliday identified a function of language concerned with learning, which he labeled "heuristic" (tell me why function). John Rogers Searle has added categories to deal with promises and threats "commissives", and with vows, bets and war declarations "performatives or declarations".

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