There are three factors in a verbal communication: Locution. Illocution, and Perlocution.
- The three components of a communication, from a pragmatic point of view, are:
- Locution--the semantic or literal significance of the utterance;
- Illocution--the intention of the speaker; and
- Perlocution--how it was received by the listener.
Here is a fictitious example (although a very similar one in Washington recently resulted in the firing of a very high government official). Take the word ‹howlee.Š
The American Dictionary of Fictitious words defines this word as, "Early missionary slang meaning--one who howls a lot." That is the locutionary significance.
To a local inhabitant of Hawaii, the word "howlee" historically has the meaning of an outsider. The word usually connotes considerable contempt.
To tourists in Hawaii, the word "howlee" signifies an aura of honorary Hawaiian status. These, then, are the three perlocutionary possibilities.