LINGUIST List 7.994

Sun Jul 7 1996

Sum: References concernign verbs of speaking

Editor for this issue: Ljuba Veselinova <>


  1. George Thompson, sum: verba dicendi

Message 1: sum: verba dicendi

Date: Sun, 07 Jul 1996 18:16:51 EDT
From: George Thompson <>
Subject: sum: verba dicendi

In response to my request of a few weeks ago I have received the
following references concerning verbs of speaking:

The most frequently cited was:

Anna Wierzbicka: "English speech act verbs: a semantic dictionary",
Sydney-New York. Academic Press, 1987. The standard in the field.

Also cited was "Semantics, Culture and Cognition", Oxford UP, 1992,
also by Wierzbicka. [special attention was called to "the very
readable section on 'speech act verbs' in the chapter on Australian
English...(I'm Australian, she's Polish, but she seems 'spot on' to
me." -- Adrian Clynes]

Monique Monville-Burston's paper in *Langue fran=E7aise* no 98 (May
1993) was cited by Bert Peeters [who guest-edited the volume in
which the article appeared]. The entire issue is "on the topic of
semantic primitives (a la Wierzbicka)."

Also cited were

Geoff Thompson, Reporting. London, HarperCollins, 1994. (Collins
COBUILD English Guide No. 5). ["This has a more thorough description
of English verba dicendi than anything else I have seen." -- Raphael


M. de Roeck, A functional typology of speech reports. in E.
Engberg-Pedersen, L. Falster Jakobsen & L. Schack Rasmussen (eds),
Function and Expression in Functional Grammar. Berlin, Mouton de
Gruyter, 1994, pp. 331-351. ["This paper looks at the transitivity of
reporting verbs in a wide range of languages." RS]

Reference was made to a cross-linguistic survey of grammaticisation
trends with respect to verba dicendi, a recent article by Saxena in
Sprachtypologie und Universalien Forschung. It is recommended as "a
basically sound descriptive analysis" and "a useful survey", although
reservations were made about its claims to universality. Unfortunately
I do not [was not given] have the full citation.

Reference was made to the following:

 What people say they do with words : prolegomena to an
 empirical-conceptual approach to linguistic action / Jef Verschueren.
 Norwood, N.J. : Ablex Pub. Corp., c1985.
 Series title: Advances in discourse processes v. 14.

This was apparently the only reference made in response to my query re
pre-technical metalanguage [thanks to Jane Edwards for this ref.].

Similarly, there was only one response making recommendations re
Saussurean semiotics of discourse. Recommended were:

Emile Benveniste's" Problemes de linguistique generale" in two volumes
1966,1974 Paris: Gallimard [these I, as a Sanskritist, would also
highly recommend; Benveniste, like Saussure, was an eminent,
multi-faceted Sanskritist -- GT].

On speech-act verbs see F. Recanati, Les enonces performatifs,
Paris:Minuit, 1981, also: Oswald Ducrot.1980. Dire et ne pas
dire. Paris: Herman.

In this context, reference may be made to a book by a Classicist
specializing in Greek literature [one classicist at least whom
linguists might find of interest!]:

Claude Calame: "The Craft of Poetic Speech in Ancient Greece," 1995:
Cornell Univ. Press. Skillful use is made of semiotics & narratology
a la the school of Greimas.

Finally, there is both a reference and a request:

Lehmann, D. "A confrontation of say, speak,talk, tell with possible
German counterparts". PSiCL, Vol.6,pp 99-109, 1977.

This reference was made by Helena Rodrigues, a linguist at the
University of Macau, who unfortunately does not have access to this
paper. Nor do I. Can anyone forward a copy to me, so that I can
forward it to Macau? It is needed for a paper of verba dicendi in
Portuguese and English.

In closing I would like to thank all of the following for their
helpful responses and kind offers to forward articles:

Adrian Clynes
Jane A. Edwards
Miriam Meyerhoff
Bert Peeters
Maria Helena Rodrigues
Raphael Salkie
Marjolijn Verspoor
Marina Yaguello

George Thompson

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