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Proficiency and Complaints: Analyses of Production and Perceptions

By Chi-yin Hong and Su-chin Shih


This study investigated the productions and perceptions of complaints of English learners at different proficiency levels in Taiwan. In addition, the interaction between the subjects' use of complaint strategies and two variables ─ status and social distance─ was examined. One hundred undergraduates participated in this study, and they were divided into high- and low-proficiency learners. A written discourse completion task (DCT) and a multiple-choice task were employed to elicit the subjects' complaints. The strategy categories used for coding written DCT data and designing options of the multiple-choice task included opting out, hints, disapproval, requests for repair, explicit complaints, and accusations, with the severity level increasing from hints to accusations (excluding opting out). The results indicated that in the two tasks, the two group both used requests for repair most often among the six complaint strategies. However, the low achievers' severity was higher than that of their high-proficiency counterparts, possibly as a result of limited English competence or the negative L1 transfer. Moreover, the two social variables, status and social distance, influenced the learners' production and perceptions of complaints, and the two groups showed similar patterns when the two variables were involved

Topics: interlanguage, complaints, discourse completion task, multiple-choice task, severity tendency
Publisher: 臺中市:國立中興大學外國語文學系
Year: 2014
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