Speech acts, discourse and clause type

Alice Corr, Nicola Munaro

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter considers how the Romance languages can contribute to our understanding of the encoding of discourse-oriented meaning, both structurally, at the level of the sentence, and, interpretatively, at the level of the utterance; more precisely, it focuses on the discourse-oriented meaning that interfaces between the wider extra-sentential discourse context on the one hand, and the propositional core of the utterance and the sentence-internal discourse context on the other. We present an overview of the contribution of Romance languages to a number of the key issues associated with theories of discourse at the level of the sentence/utterance, such as the grammatical expression of clause type, the codification of illocutionary force, and the mapping between form and function in the realization of speech acts, which are the communicative actions effected through the production of an utterance; in particular, we distinguish the morphosyntactic notion of clause type, meant as the formal or grammatical structure of a sentence codified through the lexicalization of dedicated functional slots within the left periphery of the clause, from that of illocutionary force, a pragmatic notion which refers to the communicative function attached to that expression.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Handbook of Romance Linguistics
EditorsAdam Ledgeway, Martin Maiden
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages35
ISBN (Electronic)9781108580410
ISBN (Print)9781108485791
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jun 2022

Publication series

NameCambridge Handbooks in Language and Linguistics
PublisherCambridge University Press


  • discourse
  • clause type
  • illocutionary force
  • speech acts
  • utterances
  • left periphery
  • form-function mapping
  • grammar-discourse interface


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