Performative Verbs in English — The Holistic Approach

Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates


2018, Vol. 4. №1

Performative Verbs in English — The Holistic Approach

For citation: Zhulina E. B. 2018. “Performative Verbs in English — The Holistic Approach”. Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 18-28. DOI: 10.21684/2411-197X-2018-4-1-18-28

About the author:

Ekaterina B. Zhulina, Cand. Sci. (Philol.), Associate Professor, Department of English, Faculty of Foreign Languages, St. Petersburg State University;


This article interprets performative verbs within a new, holistic approach to the language as a person’s cognitive activity, focused on the most effective adaptation in a communicative situation with limited time. Therefore, the context of the situation becomes decisive when interpreting the system of linguistic symbols. Knowledge, reflected in the language, always comes from the observer, not from the speaker. The communicant’s choice of a particular word or form depends on his or her perception, since the knowledge, expressed in a language, is a person’s direct or indirect experience.

It seems that the performative verbs in the English language convey a person’s perception of the world and the description of two areas of their experience in a communicative situation with limited time. The main method of research includes cognitive analysis, suggesting that a speaker’s choice of the verb form depends on his or her perception of both the external environment and the personal internal state and processes. This article shows that these verbs (which constitute a full-fledged action, not a means of transferring meaning) describe two areas of the observer’s experience: the internal and external environment. The semantics of the verb does not play an important role.

The obtained data can be used in theoretical works on the biology of language, cognitive grammar, cognitive analysis of discourse, cognitive sociolinguistics, literary criticism, the theory of language personality among others, as well as in teaching English.


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