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completely eliminated from most operating systems by graphical user interfaces. Some 20 years ago, however, all user interfaces and editors were either command line orientated, or one could switch back and forth between modes. While pressing the return key results in a line break when in text mode, entering a text and pressing the return key when in command line mode is a potential command: "In computers […], in stark contrast to Goethe’s Faust, words and acts coincide. The neat distinction that the speech act theory has made between utterance and use, between words with and without quotation marks, is no more. In the context of literary texts, kill means as much as the word signifies; in the context of the command line, however, kill does what the word signifies to running programmes or even to the system itself." [36]

How To Do Things With Words

In a series of lectures held in 1955 under the title of How to Do Things with Words, [37] John Langshaw Austin (1911–1960) outlined the groundbreaking theory that linguistic utterances by no means only serve the purpose of describing a situation or stating a fact, but


that they are used to commit acts. «What speakers of languages have always known and practised intuitively," writes Erika Fischer-Lichte, "was formulated for the first time by linguistics: Speech performs not only a referential function, but also a performative function.» [38] Austin’s speech act theory regards speech essentially as action and sees it as being effective not on the merit of its results, but in and of itself. This is precisely where the speech act theory meets the code’s assumed performativity: «[When] a word not only means something, but performatively generates exactly that what it names.» [39] Austin identifies three distinct linguistic acts in all speech acts. He defines the 'locutionary act' as the propositional content, which can be true or false. This act is not of further interest to us in this context. 'Illocutionary acts' are acts that are performed by the words spoken. They are defined as acts in which a person who says something also does something (for example, a judge's verdict: «I sentence you" is not a declaration of intent, but an action.) The message and execution come together: Simply "uttering [the message] is committing an act.» [40] Thus, illocutionary speech acts have certain

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