The British linguist John Langshaw Austin (1911- 1960) had developed a theory which explains the differences between a statement that describes and another that commands. He had defined this distinction as two separated parts of a speech:
a) "Constatives", and
b) "Performatives".

Constatives are sentences that describe something as True or False, and Performatives are sentences that denote actions.
Sometimes words themselves are actions . This is what is called "SPEECH ACTS"
These words include, but are not limited to:

  1. Ordering,
  2. Promising,
  3. Apologising,
  4. Warning,
  5. Sentencing,
  6. Christening, and
  7. Marrying
Performative sentence depend on Context and Reception. These are known as "FELICITY CONDITIONS".

Felicity Conditions are the rules under which the Performatives can be enacted. They should:

  • Have authority,
  • Be undestood,
  • Clear, and
  • Able to be executed.
If the Performative does not meet these conditions, it does not have the power to denote actions. But just because a Performative meets these conditions and is clearly stated, does not mean that it is implicitly followed. 


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