Identifying the Threatening Acts in Vietnamese

  • Đào Thanh Lan


Threatening is an action that has complex forms of expression, it is not easy to identify. Through the analysis of conditions of usage, context, meaning, and  modes of expression, the paper has the following conclusions:

-  Threatening is the use of speech to create some kind of anxiety which makes the speaker to follow the speaker's request.

-  Threatening  act  is used when the speaker  is angry with the hearer or when the speaker wants to increase the effectiveness of his/her request and demand. Therefore, before the threatening speech there is often a verbal abuse.

-   Threatening act can be expressed with a direct method (which has typical performative signs) or an indirect method (by form of another Illocutionary speech act such as a request and a demand...).  In the direct approach, the threatening acts have no performative verb and use the expression:  D1-Vd- D2 (D1, D2= noun/ pronoun in the 1st or 2nd position; In the indirect approach, threatening acts can be expressed by a request and a demand, a commitment (promise, swear, etc.) under the condition that the semantic content of those acts represents a bad  event,  causing damage to others.

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