‘The Effect of Social Status on Complaint Strategies by Iranian EFL learners and English native speakers’ by Soudabeh Tabatabaei & Dr. M. Balakumar

Abstract

This study aims to investigate the type of complaint strategies employed by Iranian EFL learners and English native speakers in complaint interactions in different social status (higher, lower, equal). Thirty Iranian EFL learners and 30 English native speakers participated in the study. Discourse completion task (DCT) as an open-ended questionnaire was administered to them to elicit the required data. Then, the gathered data were analyzed according to modified taxonomy of complaint proposed by Murphy and Neu (1996) involving complaint, justification, criticism, explanation of purpose and ‎candidates’ solution: Demand / Request.  In addition, three other strategies were added to this taxonomy i.e. sarcasm, threat and apology. The results indicated that social status of interlocutor had a great influence on strategy choice by participants of two groups. There is a hope that this study can contribute to our understanding of complaint strategies and help language teachers make aware of the existing discrepancies between English native speakers and Iranian EFL learners in realization of complaint strategies.

Keywords: Speech act, complaint strategies, DCT, social status, English native speakers, Iranian EFL learners

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