Education Quarterly Reviews
Published: 31 August 2022
Complaint Responses in Business Emails: An Interlanguage Pragmatic Study of Thai EFL Learners
Chiang Mai University, Thailand
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Keywords: Complaint Response Strategies, Interlanguage Pragmatics, Politeness Strategies
The study's primary objective is to investigate how Thai EFL (English as a Foreign Language) learners use politeness and complaint response strategies similarly or differently in email communication. Email data are collected from 30 male and 30 female Thai EFL learners. The learners' complaint response strategies for handling complaints include gratitude, apology, explanation, offer, appeal, and guarantee. The study shows that complaint response strategies differ among Thai male and female EFL learners. Compared to the female group, the male group uses the offer and appeal complaint response strategies more frequently. More often than the male group, the female group opts for the complaint response strategy of guarantee. Additionally, the chi-square analysis reveals that the use of the politeness strategy of the hedge is significantly different between the male and female Thai EFL learners with varying levels of English proficiency. The employment of the indirect politeness strategy is another crucial difference between male and female students in the high group. However, there is no significant difference in how male and female English language learners with high and low competence levels utilize the direct politeness strategy.
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