Speech Act Theory as an evaluation tool for human–agent communication

Nader Hanna, Deborah Richards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
101 Downloads (Pure)


Effective communication in task-oriented situations requires high-level interactions. For human–agent collaboration, tasks need to be coordinated in a way that ensures mutual understanding. Speech Act Theory (SAT) aims to understand how utterances can be used to achieve actions. SAT consists of three components: locutionary act, illocutionary act, and perlocutionary act. This paper evaluates the agent’s verbal communication while collaborating with humans. SAT was used to anatomize the structure of the agent’s speech acts (locutionary acts), the agent’s intention behind the speech acts (illocutionary acts), and the effects on the human’s mental state (perlocutionary acts). Moreover, this paper studies the impact of human perceptions of the agent’s speech acts on the perception of collaborative performance with the agent.
Original languageEnglish
Article number79
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2019. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • human-agent communication
  • human-agent collaboration
  • speech act theory
  • evaluation tool


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