Our Actions Are Embedded in Words

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October 27, 2018

Our Actions Are Embedded in Words

Do you realize that your speech has direct effects on your actions?

Our daily lives involve continually performing speech acts. Any form of speaking results in action or inaction. Coaching to the Human Soul author, Alan Sieler, said, “Speech acts are the minimal units of linguistic communication, occurring in sentences and conversations.” To speak is to engage in performing speech acts, whether it is intentional or not.

Understanding the 5 Categories of Speech Acts


There are five general categories of speech acts that are common to all cultures, regardless of their mother tongue.

First, we tell people how things are. This action describes the world. Our words match the world. For example, providing quarterly details of company sales, providing someone with information for the week’s progress report, or showing someone how to use a computer.

Another category is when we try to get people to do things. We either directly or indirectly ask people to perform specific tasks that will produce desired outcomes. Some examples will be asking your mom to cook you chicken soup, or asking for a monthly report, or requesting another person to help you prepare for a dinner party.

Another category is when we commit ourselves to doing things. When we commit ourselves to something, we commit to taking action. For example, when we accept an invitation to a wedding, we commit to being there.

When we express our feelings and attitudes, it’s also something we do through words. The realm of expressing our opinions and judgments is in this category. For example, these expressions can be, “What a beautiful day”, or “This is a horrible situation,” or “You are so annoying!” These are actions because you express your feelings through these words.

Expressing opinions can have an impact on your feelings and that of others. For example, rumors and gossips, consisting of unsubstantiated opinions, often shape how people view each other. More than that, they become the realm of unquestioned assumptions and assumed reality. How would you react when a friend told you your other friend is cheating on his wife? Would you already have judgments about him and his integrity, even if it were just in your mind?


Our Language Generates Our Actions


There are different statements to the expression of feelings and attitudes. They are definitive statements, made with the backing of authority. These have the immediate effect of bringing about a different reality. We may overlook it often, but our language is so powerful in our daily lives and these are ways by which we create our realities.

How you describe a situation, a person, or a condition will become it. Your language generates what is real for you. You need to be mindful of the feelings and attitudes you express. Your prophetic utterance generates the possibilities for your life.

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