Any study of communication must take into account the nature and role of speech acts in a broad context. This book addresses questions such as:- What do we mean?- How do we say it? and - How is it understood? in the broad context of universal, socio-cultural and psychological issues that bear on human communication. It presents an overview of current issues in speech act theory that are at the center of human and social sciences dealing with language, thought and action, building on John Searle's famous article 'How Performatives Work' (included in this book). The contributions by linguists, psychologists, computer scientists, and philosophers thus address issues of communication that are crucial in conversation analysis, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, psychology and philosophy, and a general understanding of how we communicate.The book is suitable for courses with an extensive bibliography for further reading and an Index.Contributions by: Daniel Vanderveken; André Leclerc; John Searle; Candida de Sousa Melo; Alain Trognon; Steven Davis; Tomoyuki Yamada; Bernard Moulin & Daniel Rousseau; Susumu Kubo; Masa-aki Yamanashi; Jacques Moeschler; Marc Dominicy & Nathalie Franken.