In NLP Lost Performative is any value judgement or opinion. The source of the judgement or opinion is absent. So often beliefs and opinions pass down from person to person. Eventually to the point where the belief or opinion is no longer relevant to the person offering it or contextually appropriate. Lost performatives are when someone is talking about a personal belief, but presents it as though it was a universal truth. We then accept it as true without questioning it as we would if we heard it as someone’s personal opinion.
So we frequently express group opinions that we happen to agree with, even though we do not know why anymore. By listening for lost performatives, we can identify outdated ideas and contextually inappropriate beliefs or however appropriate as they may have been in the past.
Things like clichés and new age rhetoric that “everyone” knows are true. Even though some of these truisms are useful. There is no reference to the origin. And so they disconnect.
An example of a lost performative is this one: “It is important to vote Democratic in this family”. This can be easily challenged by asking “According to whom, specifically?”. Or, if you want to go a tad more confrontational: “Says who?” which also elicits the sender of the initial statement.
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