Congratulation Speech Acts Across Cultures: The Case of English, Persian, and Arabic

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Islamic Azad University, Shahreza Branch, Shahreza, Iran

2 Department of English, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran


The present study is an attempt to investigate the cross-cultural differences with regards to the production of a relatively understudied speech act, namely, congratulations. To this end, 48 American native speakers were asked to fill out a Discourse Completion Test (DCT) consisting of 4 situations on each of which the participants were asked to offer congratulations. Besides, the translated versions of the DCT were used to elicit data from 50 Persian native speakers as well as 44 native speakers of Syrian Arabic language. The corpus was analyzed to determine the congratulation strategies used and the frequencies of their occurrence. The content of semantic formulas as well as their shifts according to the status of the hearer were also investigated. Analysis of the data revealed several similarities and differences among the three groups, which will have implications for researchers as well as language teachers.


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