In this book, Douglas Robinson introduces a new distinction between 'constative' and 'performative' linguistics, arguing that Austin's distinction can be used to understand linguistic methodologies. Constative linguistics, Robinson suggests, includes methodologies aimed at 'freezing' language as an abstract sign system, while performative linguistics explores how language is used or 'performed' in those speech situations. Robinson then tests his hypothesis on the act of translation.
Drawing on a range of language scholars and theorists, Performative Linguistics consolidates the many disparate action-approaches to language into a new paradigm for the study of language.
Douglas Robinson is Professor of English at the University of Mississippi, USA.