Politeness Strategy in Interlanguage Pragmatics of Complaints by International Students

Idda Astia


The study aims to investigate the speech acts of international students in Universitas Muhammadiyah Surabaya in giving complaints. This study focuses on the complaint speech acts and the politeness strategy which are produced by International students who have different cultural background. This study used qualitative approach because it observed the complaints speech acts of International students in applying the politeness strategy. There were four participants consist of three males and one female. They came from Mexico, Thailand, East Timor and Togo. The data were taken by purposive sampling. The data contained the complaints which were delivered by the international students conducted through chatting on WhatsApp. Those were collected, categorized, analyzed and concluded. Finally, it is inferred that complaint speech acts which used by showing irritation or disapproval expression and blame. Thus, in politeness strategy, social distance (age and status) and cultural background induce the way of giving complaints. Bald on record politeness strategy is used in the culture which has directness term. Moreover, negative politeness is applied by the complainer who has culture in indirectness term. Bald on record politeness strategy has the chance for face threatening acts (FTA) in the other hand, negative politeness strategy can avoid the FTA.


complaints, international students, politeness strategy, speech acts

Full Text:



Agbaglo, Ebenezer. (2017). The Use of Politeness Strategies in the Analysis and Discussion Sections of English Research Article. Research on Humanities and Social Sciences, 7(9), 30-42. www.iiste.org.

Al-Khawaldeh, Nisreen. (2016). A Pragmatics Cross-Cultural Study of Complaints Expressions in Jordan and England. IJALEL: (International Journal of Applied Linguistics & Applied Literature) 5(5), 197-207. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.5n.5p.197

Auerbach, C. F. and Silverstein, L. B. (2003). An introduction to coding and analysis: qualitative data. New York and London: New York University Press.

Austin, J.L. (1962). How to do things with words. New York: Oxford University Press.

Azarmi, A., and Behnam, B. (2012). The Pragmatic Knowledge of Iranian EFL Learners in Using Face Keeping Strategies in Reaction to Complaints at Two Different Level. (English Language Teaching) 5(2), 78-92. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/elt.v5n2p78

Bogdan, R. C. and Biklen, S. K. (1982). Qualitative research for education: an introduction to theory and method. Massachusetts: Allyn and Bacon.

Brown, P., & Levinson, S. (1987). Politeness: Some universals in language usage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Coulmas, F., (2013). Sociolinguistics: The study of speakers’ choices. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Cutting, Joan. (2002). Pragmatics and discourse. New York: Routledge.

Da Silva, A.M., (2014). Analyzing Complaints by Indonesian EFL Speakers. CELT (Culture, English Language, Teaching & Literature) 14(1), 63-81. doi: https://doi.org/10.24167/celt.v14i1.57

Fitriah & Hidayat, D. N. (2018). Politeness: Cultural Dimensions of Linguistic Choice. IJEE (Indonesian Journal of English Education) 5(1), 26-34. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.15408/ijee.v5i1.IJEE

Goffman, E. (1967). Interaction ritual: essays on face-to-face behaviour. Garden city, New York: Anchor Books, Doubleday and Company, Inc.

Karim, Sayit A. (2016). Analysis on Cooperative Principle and Politeness Principle in Guest Complaining at X Hotel in Kuta – Bali. RIJB (Retorika: Jurnal Ilmu Bahasa) 2(2), 394-408. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.22225/jr.2.2.409.394-408

Kasper, G., & Blum-Kulka, S. (1993). Interlanguage Pragmatics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kramsch, Claire. (1998). Language and culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kreishan, Lana. (2018). Politeness and Speech acts of Refusal and Complaint among Jordanian Undergraduate Students. IJALEL: (International Journal of Applied Linguistics & Applied Literature) 7(4), 68-76. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.7n.4p.68

Levinson, S. (1983). Pragmatics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Mahmud, Murni. (2019). The Use of Politeness Strategies in the Classroom Context by English University Students. IJAL (Indonesian of Journal Applied Linguistics) 8(3), 597-606. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.17509/ijal.v8i3.15258

Marocchini, Eleonora. (2017). Politeness Strategies in Complaints in Italian: A Study on IFL Learners and Italian Native Speakers. EuroAmerican Journal of Applied Linguistics and Language 4 (2), 75-96. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.21283/2376905X.7.98

Masjedi, Narges & Paramasivam, Shamala. (2018). Complaint and Politeness Strategies Used by Iranian Speakers of English. IJALEL: (International Journal of Applied Linguistics & Applied Literature) 7(4), 38-49. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.7n.3p.38

Ryabova, Marina. (2015). Politeness Strategy in Everyday Communication. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences 206 (2015), 90-95. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.10.033

Saldana, J. (2011). Fundamentals of qualitative research: understanding qualitative research. New York: Oxford University Press

Searle, John R. (1979). Expression and meaning: studies in the theory of speech acts. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thomas, Jenny. (1995). Meaning in interaction: an introduction to pragmatics. New York: Longman Publishing

Trosborg, Anna. (1995). Interlangugae pragmatics: request, complaints, apologies. Berlin: Mouton de gruyter.

Wierzbicka, Anna. (2003). Cross-cultural pragmatics: the semantics of human interaction 2nd edition. Berlin: Mouton de gruyter.

Wijayanto, Agus et al. (2013). Politeness in Interlanguage Pragmatics of Complaints by Indonesian Learners of English. Canadian Center of Science and Education 6(10), 188-201. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/elt.v6n10p188

Yule, George. (1996). Pragmatics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21093/ijeltal.v4i2.528


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
IJELTAL (Indonesian Journal of English Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics) by http://ijeltal.org is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


Abstracting and Indexing



Contact Us: IJELTAL (Indonesian Journal of English Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics;

Address: Faculty of Teacher Training and Education, Universitas Islam Negeri Sultan Aji Muhammad Idris Samarinda

Jl. H.A.M. Rifadin, Samarinda, Kalimantan Timur, Indonesia. Email: ijeltalj@gmail.com