Expressing Gratitude in an EFL Context: The Case of Jordanian Learners

Husam Al-Momani, Abdullah Jaradat, Nisreen Al-Khawaldeh, Baker Bani-Khair


This study contributes to the existing literature on interlanguage pragmatics by investigating intermediate Jordanian English Foreign Language (EFL) learners’ gratitude speech act realization compared to that of native American English speakers. The study considered both aspects of pragmatic competence including pragmalinguistic knowledge (i.e., the use of gratitude strategies) and sociopragmatic knowledge (i.e., the influence of contextual variables). A discourse completion task (DCT) was employed to elicit data from 60 participants divided into two groups: 30 native speakers of American English, and 30 Jordanian EFL learners. Findings revealed that while Jordanian EFL  learners and American English native speakers have access to the same gratitude strategies, both groups differed in  the order preference of the used strategies and their frequency of use. Furthermore, the two groups showed different patterns in responding to contextual variables (i.e., social power and size of imposition), an indication that different cultural values govern the speech norms of each group. The study concludes with some pedagogical implications that could be implemented in the EFL classroom. 


Gratitude, speech acts, interlanguage pragmatics, second language acquisition

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