ERIC Number: ED335925
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1989
Building Rapport through Indirect Complaints: Implications for Language Learning.
A study investigated the usefulness of indirect complaints (ICs)--i.e., expressions of dissatisfaction about someone or something not present--as a strategy for negotiating interaction for second language acquisition. In contrast to a direct complaint, an IC can be used to attempt to establish solidarity with an interlocutor. The language corpus consisted of 70 sequences of spontaneous conversation in which ICs were uttered. Subjects were university students, faculty, faculty family members, and staff. Six possible types of response to ICs were found: (1) no response or change of subject (4%); (2) response requesting elaboration (11%); (3) response in the form of joking or teasing (6%); (4) contradiction or explanation (12%); (5) advice or lecture (15%); and (6) commiseration (52%). Female and male responses were compared. While the expectation of the study was to identify formulaic responses (e.g., "oh, you poor thing"), no such response emerged. Even commiserative responses were highly varied in structure and intent. Results confirmed earlier research findings that equality of status is a common characteristic of ICs. Most commiseration responses occurred among status equals with neither minimal nor maximal social distance. An 18-item bibliography is included. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: In Working Papers in Educational Linguistics, Volume 5, Number 2; see FL 019 412.