View full lesson: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/speech-acts-constative-and-performative-colleen-glenney-boggs
When are words just words, and when do words force action? Linguist J.L. Austin divided words into two categories: constatives (words that describe a situation) and performatives (words that incite action). For instance, is a "No running" sign describing your gait, or are you not running because the sign prohibits it? Colleen Glenney Boggs describes how these categorizations give power to words and, ultimately, to your actions.
Lesson by Colleen Glenney Boggs, animation by Lou Webb.