An Interlanguage Pragmatic Study of Saudis’ Complaints

Nader Muhaya Rashidi


This study investigated the strategies monolingual Saudi Arabian adults (MSAAs), Saudi EFL adult learners (SEFLALs), and native speakers of English (ENSs) used when complaining. Another related aim was investigating whether SEFLALs displayed pragmatic transfer when using complaint strategies. A total of 183 written responses were collected from MSAAs, SEFLALs, and ENSs via a three-item discourse completion task (DCT) were analyzed. Findings revealed the strategies used by the study participants when performing the speech act of complaints. First, hints, request and annoyance were the most frequently used strategies by MSAAs, SEFLALs, and ENSs. Second, there were no statistically significant differences among MSAAs, SEFLALs, and ENSs in using the strategy of direct accusation which consistent with the concept of positive pragmatic transfer. Third, hints, behavioral blame, request and indirect accusation were cases of weak negative pragmatic transfer as employed the SEFLALs in the current study. Fourth, modified blame was consistent with concept of strong negative pragmatic transfer. Finally, the last two strategies; annoyance and threat were consistent with no transfer, that is, SEFLAL employed these two strategies as ENSs.



Complaints; Pragmatic transfer; Speech acts

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