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A framework is necessary for investigating
any issue. That framework helps in the data collection and data analysis. In
this study, the researcher will take the three previous theories for achieving
the objectives of the study.

These theories are Grice’s Co-operative
Principle, Brown and Levinson’s Politeness strategies and speech act theory.

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People use language to
accomplish certain kinds of acts, broadly known as speech acts, J.L Austin gave the
speech act theory and it is s published in 1962 under the title How to do
things with words. Austin theory was based on people assumption that utterances
were classified as either true or false. He affirmed that language expressions
could not be checked as obvious or false but through articulation of words, we do
many actions. Austin classified and identified speech acts in three main
categories, illocutionary, locutionary and perlocutionary acts. These acts are
fulfilled though the usage of words.

In
the words of Austin, “locutionary act is uttering a certain sentence with a
certain meaning”. In other words, it is just the act of saying something.

In
the words of Austin, “The action intended by the speaker is illocutionary act”.
It means how the speaker uses the language and how the proposition is to be
taken

The
third aspect of Austin’s theory is the perlocutionary acts, what Austin
suggested are that “it is concerned with what follows an utterance: the
effect”. In other words, people can recognize messages without obeying them,
which is the effect of words.

Searle
(1969) develops and extends the speech act theory that Austin introduced.
Searle focuses on the illocutionary
acts performed by the speaker. Searle
(1969) categorized speech acts into five types namely representatives,
directives, commissives, expressives and declarations.

A part from distinguishing speech acts
according to their general function, they can also be distinguished with regard
to their structure. Austin argued
that what is said (the locutionary act) does not determine the illocutionary
act(s) being performed. Thus, we can perform a speech act directly or
indirectly, by way of performing another speech act.

For example, we can make a request or give permission by way of making a
statement and we can make a statement or give an order by way of asking a
question.  Whenever there is a direct relationship between the function of
a speech act and its structural form, we have a direct speech act. When
there is no direct relationship between a structure and a form but rather an
indirect one, the speech act is considered indirect.

These classifications will be used to
identify speech acts in the courtroom proceedings. Generally, in courtroom
trial both parties blaming each other and the overall trial is based on avoiding
blame and shifting of blame. In law that is known as burden of proof. This is
shifted from one party to other. Given that the major aim in a trial is to
establish what happened at an earlier time in order to arrive at a decision on
who is to bear responsibility for an occurrence or omission, it is to be
expected that questioning and declaring/asserting are the dominant speech act
functions in courtroom discourse. The speech act function of questioning can mainly
be attributed to lawyers, while the speech act function of declaring or
asserting can mainly be attributed to witnesses who make declarations or
assertions in their response to questions. However, the present study also
sought to identify other speech act functions realized by utterances that are
not interrogative or declarative in nature. It also identified speech act
functions achieved through structures that could formally be categorized as
questions and as declarative sentences, but can be analyzed as achieving more
than just the discourse functions of questioning and declaring/asserting
respectively. The current study will used the Speech Act Theory to determine
the speech acts prevalent in courtroom discourse and how they bring out the
power and asymmetry in the discourse.

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