An ELT Glossary : Performative verbs

Performative verbs are verbs which perform the action they describe as they are uttered. So for example, in a naming ceremony for a ship, by uttering the words I name this ship the Princess Jane, the person carrying out the ceremony actually names the ship. With this use, name is thus a performative verb.

Some other examples :

I suggest that we stop for lunch now.
OK, I admit it.
All right, I agree to wait till Monday.
Sorry but I refuse to work with him.
I promise I'll do it tomorrow.

In each case, by using the verb after I (and generally in the present simple), you are actually performing the action named by the verb or with all verb forms. This isn't true of course for all uses of the verb. If you say for example : David refuses to work with him, or I suggested that we stop for lunch you are simply reporting the action - not performing it.

Related Reading

Schmidt and Richards, Speech Acts and Second Language Learning, in Richards (Ed.) The Context of Language Teaching, Cambridge  (Probably my one of my five favourite methodology books ever)