Pragmatic Forces of Speech Acts Used By Members of County Assembly during Debates In Bomet County, Kenya (Published)
Members of County Assembly of Bomet, Kenya, engage in debates over different motions proposed to aid in determining the best course of action regarding important matters affecting the County. However, the actions of the Members as they routinely discuss various motions on the floor of the County Assembly have received little scholarly attention. A knowledge of what participants do during the debating process and the pragmatic forces behind their utterances will provide insights into the nature of interaction at the County Assembly and at the same time show the state of affairs at the County. Therefore, this paper examines the pragmatic forces of speech acts used by Members of County Assembly of Bomet during debates at the County Assembly. The paper relied on Austin’s (1962) Speech Act Theory and the Five Categories of Speech Acts identified by Searle (2005), which include directives, expressives, commissives, declaratives, and assertives. The study also incorporated insights in the study of speech acts from Sotillo (2017). The paper purposefully sampled three motions from the Hansards recorded between the year 2013 and 2017. The data was downloaded from Bomet County Assembly’s website. Textual analysis was used to collect data. The data collected was analysed using descriptive statistics. The results showed that most pragmatic forces were manifested in assertives/representatives (for instance, informing, reporting, claiming, stating) accounting for 47.26%. This was followed by expressives (for example, thanking, apologizing, protesting, congratulating) at 23.63%, then directives (for example, requests, urge, ask, suggest, advise, direct) at 18.15%, declarations (declare, adjourn, christen, approve) at 7.19% and finally commissives (such as promise, vow, guarantee, refuse, assure) at 3.76%. This study contributes to existing knowledge on pragmatics and particularly the use of speech acts to explain the state of affairs in the society. The study therefore proposes that speech act analysis be adopted as an effective tool in the analysis of argumentative discourse.
In their everyday life, people are usually involved in different types of conversations, they discuss about their different needs and in order to gain what they want and win the conversation, they tend to utilize different verbal ploys or strategies such as argumentation schemes. Argumentation schemes” Argumentation schemes are binding kinds of reasoning when seen as moves, or speech acts in the setting of dialogue“. They are significant features in presidential debates since they can be exploited via the discussants in order to beat each other and win the presidential battle. However, the current paper aims at discovering the different kinds of argumentation schemes, their role in political debates and how they can be effective factors in the persuading process. The study hypothesized that “scheme of analogy is the most common type of schemes that is generally utilized in the presidential debates. The data includes the third American presidential debate that held between Clinton and Trump 2016. It has been analyzed based on Walton’s(2002)concept of argumentation schemes. The hypothesis of the study is verified and the basic results that have been concluded from the study includes that Argumentation schemes are needed to be employed in any critical discussion because of its persuasive nature.They can be detected in humans every day discussions and people may employ them almost in all types of their conversations.Finally in presidential debates, the arguer exploits all his verbal attacked tools such as argumentation schemes to win the election race and get the audience’s votes, so it can be considered as a cheese game in which the player do his best to win the game.