The Speech Act Set of Direct Complaints in American and Russian Cultures

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Abstract


This study investigates the speech act set of direct complaints performed by American speakers and Russian native speakers. This article explores the semantic categories that speakers in each language group used to structure their complaints and the order of occurrences of the categories from the point of view of face-saving strategies, as defined by Brown and Levinson (1978 [1987]). The data was obtained through a combination of oral responses to a discourse completion questionnaire and an assessment questionnaire. The findings demonstrate that speakers in each language group used the same range of semantic categories to structure their complaints. However, the frequency and the order of the categories greatly differed, which revealed differences in politeness norms and cultural values in American and Russian cultures. The results of the study indicate some language- and culture- specific features of complaints, which can have a significant effect on problem negotiations across cultures.

Beata Gallaher

Independent Scholar (USA)

Email: beata.moskala@gmail.com

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