Research Article

The Taxonomy of Denial as a Speech Act


  • Yassine Khaya Ibn Tofail University, English Department, Kenitra Morocco


This paper presents a critical examination of the classification of Denial within Speech Act Theory, advocating for its redefinition from an assertive to a directive speech act. Drawing upon the foundational principles established by J.L. Austin (1962) and further developed by John Searle (1969, 1979), the study applies Searle's twelve dimensions of illocutionary acts to Denial. Through this analytical framework, the paper demonstrates that Denial transcends the mere negation of propositions, actively engaging in modifying the hearer's beliefs or actions, a characteristic inherent to directive acts. The analysis highlights the dual nature of Denial, which not only contests a given proposition but also, and more importantly, endeavours to influence the listener's perspective or behaviour. This re-evaluation challenges traditional views and enriches the discourse on linguistic pragmatics by advocating for a more nuanced and context-sensitive approach to speech act classification. By reclassifying Denial as a directive, this study contributes to a deeper understanding of communicative practices, emphasising the strategic use of language in social interactions and the complex dynamics of speech acts in communication. This reassessment calls for a broader reconsideration of speech act classifications, marking a step towards a more comprehensive representation of language functions within linguistic pragmatics and opening avenues for future research.

Article information


International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation

Volume (Issue)

7 (3)





How to Cite

Khaya, Y. (2024). The Taxonomy of Denial as a Speech Act. International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation, 7(3), 141–145.



Speech Act;, Illocutionary Acts,, Directive Speech Acts,, Denial in Linguistics,, John Searle,, Communicative Intent