Politeness in Interlanguage Pragmatics of Complaints by Indonesian Learners of English

  •  Agus Wijayanto    
  •  Malikatul Laila    
  •  Aryati Prasetyarini    
  •  Susiati Susiati    


Complaint is intrinsically an abusive act which tends to offend the complainees. In spite of this complainers could consider politeness when they still intend to maintain a good relationship with the complainees. This paper investigated politeness strategies involved in complaints relating to different social status levels and social distances. The data of the complaints were elicited through oral discourse completion tasks from 50 Indonesian learners of English consisting of 25 males and 25 females. The findings indicated that most complaints sounded very direct, particularly those addressed to lower-unfamiliar interlocutors. Four politeness strategies of Brown and Levinson (1987) were employed by the learners. Bald on record and Positive politeness were the most pervasive strategies used across status levels and social distances. Negative politeness was comparatively high, but it was not as high as Bald on record and Positive politeness. Off-record was rarely phrased across status levels and social distances.

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