Which Speech Acts?

“Children who go out today will need to wear their raincoats.”  This might look like a simple statement of fact, but most children so advised by a parent would surely know that they are being told to do something if they go outside.  What looks like a simple statement of fact can in fact be  an order or a request or something else again.  (For some Jender posts on kinds of speech acts, see here.)

A film from the 1950’s meant to tell foreigners about the London Bus system raises all sorts of questions about what is going on with the uses of language.  So what do you hear?

4 thoughts on “Which Speech Acts?

  1. jj, I doubt so, not surreal enough.

    Though that might come from living in the wonderland of Sarkozy, where seeing black people not being forced from public transportation is an admirable display of administrative restraint. I did try once to interfere, but I switched to chickening out from now own… and I do known how lame this is.

  2. Hi, just curious – is the rain (if, in fact it is about the rain) only falling from the one metre mark?

  3. during the 1950s, london transport had a massive, international recruiting drive. they had, for example, recruiting offices throughout the west indies. could this film be recruitment bumpf for potential bus drivers: ‘people on london busses are friendly, even to black people’?

    i like the charming mother whose pushchair was not a nuisance. the retirement of the routemaster busses in london–sad as it is–has, i suspect, completely changed motherhood in london: it’s really easy to get a pram onto a bendy bus, or even a modern double-decker. suddenly, women with small children can move about the city just like everyone else. It’s interesting to see how tfl addressed the concerns of mothers in need of a bus in the age of the routemaster: don’t be a nuisance and everything’s fine. yeah right.

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