Forms of the Directive Speech Act: Evidence from Early Ptolemaic Papyri

in Postclassical Greek

Abstract

In early Hellenistic Greek, a wider range of strategies was available than in the Classical period to express directive speech acts, in which the addresser typically tries to induce the addressee to take a particular action. During this period, besides imperatives, other patterns - more focused on the pragmatic context - become routine, such as performative utterances, by which the addresser makes the interaction dynamics of the speech act explicit, as well as indirect implicatures, by which its illocutionary force is softened. Morphosyntactic variation also contributes to modulating the speech act. Finally, regularities in the phrasing, related to both the author’s profile and the context of use (also in terms of epistolary type), emerge.

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