Levinson, S. C. (2011). Multi-action turns. Talk presented at the 12th International Pragmatics Conference [IPrA 2011]. University of Manchester, UK. 2011-07-03 - 2011-07-08.
This paper addresses the phenomenon of single turns, even single turn-constructional units, that perform multiple speech acts or social actions. The paper reviews the main approaches - ''indirect speech acts'' as treated in linguistic pragmatics, and the ''vehicle'' approach as in conversation analysis - and argues that both of these are inadequate. Instead a solution is sought in the hierarchical nature of action planning, and it is shown that this approach sheds considerable light on multi-action turns. The simplest cases involve pre-sequences, but more complex cases involving extended ''projects'' by participants are also reviewed. It seems that there is no principled limit to the number of actions that a single turn-construcional unit can perform - certainly cases of up to four such actions can be found. The implications for speech act theory and conversation analysis are spelled out.
Max Planck Institute