Speech Act of Greeting for American Native Speakers of English and Saudi Native Speakers of Arabic: A Comparative Study

Rehan Almegren


This study focuses on comparing the speech acts of native Arabic speakers of Saudi region and English speakers of America, which help depict the impact of the variables involved, namely status, setting, social distance and situation formality. This paper makes a significant contribution for future researchers, as it is of help to researchers in the speech act area specifically in terms of Saudi Arabic and American English. It will be also of help to those learning Arabic or English and those who teach it in these two countries. Thus, the outcome of this research will contribute to depict the differences and the similarities in the use of greeting strategies between two different groups of respondents from diverse linguistic and cultural domains. Data was collected using the discourse completion test (DCT), developed by Cohen, Olshtain & Rosenstien (1985). Fifty female respondents within the age group of 20-25 years were selected from each group to participate in research procedures. Although the inclusion of male respondents would have made the process complex, it would have provided with comparatively more accurate outcomes if managed properly. The findings showed that linguistic and cultural differences, variables of social distance, social status, settings and situation formality greatly influenced the decision-making of Saudi Native Speakers of Arabic and American Native Speakers of English, pertaining to their usage of greeting strategies as part of their speech acts. For example, differences can be observed between these two speakers in terms of their greeting strategies; American English speakers attach less significance to social and physical distance and hierarchy compared to Saudi Arabic speakers. Similarly, both the groups attach almost equal importance to their initiation words when greeting others. These differences and similarities help determine social status and the relationship between speakers. 


pragmatics, politeness strategies, speech act, greeting, DCT

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.6n.7p.243


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