Direct Commissive Speech Act in President Joe Biden’s Address to Congress

Odi Astaman, Akhyar Rido


In a speech event, it is common for the speaker may be hiding various meanings from the listeners in addition to just stating what they are saying­­­­. As a result, there are breaks in communication and understanding for the listeners. This current study was aimed to identify the types of direct commissive act and the literal meanings and pragmatic effects in President Joe Biden’s Address to Congress. Focusing on the types of commissive speech act based on Searle's theory while the literal meaning as well as the pragmatic effects were based on Austin's theory. This study employed a qualitative methodology. The data were collected through perusal of documents. The findings showed that all the six types of direct commissive acts – promise, commit, guarantee, offer, bet, and threat – were used in President Joe Biden Address. The literal meanings and pragmatic effects showed that not all of President Biden's states were true. The findings of this study can be used by students who are going to conduct studies in this aspect, in particular, research in the pragmatic field focusing on the study of speech acts. This study suggest that stakeholders should use the findings of this study as a tool of assessment of public’s point of view to leaders’ promises in the context of social and political speech.

Keywords: Commissive Act, Illocutionary Acts, Pragmatic Approach, Speech Event

Full Text:



Afrianto, A., & Widianto, W. 2022. Mythological and historical representation: A critical discourse analysis on Aeschylus’s poems the Sacrifice of Iphigenia and The Battle of Salamis. Journal of Arts and Education, 2(1).

Afrianto, Sujatna, E. T., Darmayanti, N., & Ariyani, F. 2021. Configuration of Lampung mental clause: A functional grammar investigation. Advances in Social Science, Education and Humanities Research.

Ahmed, Hazhar Ramadhan and Amir, Shamaila, Speech Act Analysis of the Joseph R. Biden, Jr.’s Inaugural Address on 20th of January 2021 as the 46th President of the USA (February 6, 2021). Electronic Research Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities, 3(1), 43-55.

Austin, J. L. 1962. How to Do Things with Words. Cambridge University Press.

Ayomi, P. N., Dian, K., Candra, P., Putu, P., Sruti, I., Maha, P., & Putri, W. 2022. The Illocutionary Act of Food Product Endorsements by Indonesian Influencers on Instagram. Seminar Nasional Linguistik Dan Sastra (SEMNALISA).

Baby S., Afzal U., & Basharat Z. 2020. Pragmatic analysis of Joe Biden’s victory speech 2020. Palarch’s Journal of Archaeology of Egypt/Egyptology 18(7).

Bani-Khaled, Turki and Azzam, Sylvia, The Theme of Unity in Political Discourse: The Case of President Joe Biden’s Inauguration Speech on the 20th of January 2021 (October 29, 2021). Arab World English Journal (AWEJ), 12(3). Available at SSRN: or

Baok, F. S., Jayantini, G. A. S. R., & Santika, D. A. D. M. 2021. The analysis of illocutionary act in Hillary Clinton’s speech. Elysian Journal English Literature, Linguistics and Translation Studies, 1(2).

Bowen, G. A. 2009. Document analysis as a qualitative research method. Qualitative Research Journal, 9(2), 27-40.

Caroline, R. T., Sitorus, U., Sinurat, B., Herman, & Silalahi, D. E. 2021. An analysis on the speech act of Mark Zuckerberg in English speeches YouTube Channel. Zien Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities. Retrieved from Https://

Creswell, J. W. 2009. Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. Sage Publications.

Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. 2005. The Discipline and Practice of Qualitative Research. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Dewi, C. W. 2021. An analysis of illocutionary and perlocutionary speech acts of an Instagram online shopping account. Professional Journal of English Education, 4(3).

Fadilah, R., & Kuswoyo, H. 2021. Transitivity analysis of presidential debate between Trump and Biden in 2020. Linguistics and Literature Journal, 2(2), 98-107.

Fotion, N. 2000. Searle's Speech Act Theory. In John Searle (p. 11-38). Acumen Publishing. Doi:10.1017/UPO9781844653157.002.

Husain, A., Hamamah, H., & Nurhayani, I. 2020. Commissive speech act in Indonesian presidential debate. OKARA: Jurnal Bahasa Dan Sastra, 14(1), 81. Retrieved from Https://Doi.Org/10.19105/Ojbs.V14i1.3141.

Isanabiah, & Fitrawati. 2022. Analysis of illocutionary acts performed in Fluency’s YouTube Channel. E-Journal of English Language and Literature, 11(3). Retrieved from Http://Ejournal.Unp.Ac.Id/Index.Php/Jell.

Ivana, P. S., & Suprayogi, S. 2020. The representation of Iran and United States in Donald Trump’s speech: A critical discourse analysis. Linguistics and Literature Journal, 1(2), 40-45.

Kuswoyo, H., Sujatna, E. T. S., Indrayani, L. M., Rido, A., & Macdonald, D. (2021). ‘Let’s Take a Look...’: An Investigation of Directives as Negotiating Interpersonal Meaning in Engineering Lectures. Pertanika Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities, 29(1), 47–69. Retrieved from Https://Doi.Org/10.47836/PJSSH.29.1.03

Levinson, S. C. 1985. Pragmatics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Luh, N., Indrawati, S., Nyoman, N., Ariyaningsih, D., Dian, K., & Candra, P. 2021. An analysis of assertive illocutionary acts used by local guides in Tirta Empul Temple. Social Science, Public Administration and Management (HUSOCPUMENT), 1(3), 126-130.

Maulidiyah, L., Nuruddin Hidayat, D., & Defianty, M. 2021. The analysis of illocutionary acts used by Sherly Annavita in Indonesia Lawyers Club. JOLLT Journal of Languages and Language Teaching, 9(1), 53.

Mufiah, N. S., Yazid, M., & Rahman, N. 2018. Speech acts analysis of Donald Trump’s speech. Profesional Journal of English Education, 1.

Puspita, D., & Pranoto, B. E. 2021. The Attitude of Japanese Newspapers in Narrating Disaster Events: Appraisal in Critical Discourse Study. Studies in English Language and Education, 8(2), 796- 817.

Pradana, F. A., & Suprayogi, S. 2021. Critical discourse analysis on Chinese and American news websites reporting South China Sea territorial dispute. Linguistics and Literature Journal, 2(2), 84-92.

Pranoto, B. E., & Suprayogi. 2020. Incorporating 9GAG memes to develop EFL learners' speaking ability and willingness to communicate. IJEE (Indonesian Journal of English Education), 7(2), 130-144.

Pranoto, B. E., & Suprayogi. 2020. Insights from students’ perspective of 9GAG humorous memes used in EFL classroom. Advances in Social Science, Education and Humanities Research, 5(6), 72-76.

Rido, Akhyar. 2020. "Why they act the way they do?": Pedagogical practices of experienced vocational English language teachers in Indonesia. International Journal of Language Education, 4(1), 24-37.

Rido et. al. 2020. Interaction management strategies in English literature lectures in Indonesian university setting. Indonesian Journal of EFL and Linguistics, 5(2), 315-337.

Sari, P. I., & Pranoto, B. E. 2020. An analysis of illocutionary act and perlocutionary act towards the Queen Elizabeth’s speech entitled we will succeed and better days will come. Linguistics and Literature Journal, 3(1), 24-33.

Sofian, E. S. 2022. Analysis of speech act in Joe Biden’s victory speech 2020. Era Journal for Humanities and Sociology, 6.

Searle, J. R. 1969. Speech Acts. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from Https://Doi.Org/10.1017/CBO9781139173438.

Sutopo, H. B. 2002. Pengantar Penelitian Kualitatif. Universitas Sebelas Maret.

Yokossi, D. T. 2022. A study of speech acts in Joe Biden’s opening and closing remarks at the virtual summit for democracy: A pragmatic perspective. International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation. Retrieved from Https://Doi.Org/10.32996/Ijllt

Yule, G. 2010. The Study of Language, (6th ed). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Yusanti, G., Ningrum, A. S., Aini, N., & Al Aziz, E. N. 2022. Speech act analysis on Joe Biden's speech about covid-19. Jurnal Arbitrer, 9(1), 57.

Zhang, R., Li, W., Gao, D., & You, O. 2013. Automatic Twitter topic summarization with speech acts. IEEE Transactions on Audio, Speech, and Language Processing, 2(1), 649-658.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2023 Odi Astaman, Akhyar Rido

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Teknosastik: Jurnal Bahasa dan Sastra
: Universitas Teknokrat Indonesia
Address: Zainal Abidin Pagaralam Street 9-11, Bandar Lampung, Indonesia

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License