Criticism in English and Thai: A Pragmatic Analysis

Ercanbrack, Jay
Wichitwechkarn, Jongkonrat
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Utilizing two separate data collection techniques, i.e., Discourse Completion Tasks (DCT) and multiple-response rating scales, this study explored Thai and American use of criticism in business interactions. The study attempted, firstly, to reveal and describe the strategies of criticism employed by each group; secondly, to determine the influence of interlocutor status on level of face-threat contained in criticisms; and lastly, to advance knowledge of the comparability and suitability of various data collection methods within the field of pragmatic and speech act realization research. A two-part questionnaire in the subjects' native languages was distributed to 45 Thai and 42 American business majors at universities in Thailand and the U.S. Nine identical items involving problem-oriented business situations were used in the DCT and rating scale portions of the questionnaire. The variable of interlocutor status was manipulated across items to stimulate a variety of critical responses. Analyses of data included chi-squares and ANOVAs as well as descriptive statistics. Results reveal areas of both conformance and non-conformance in Thai and American realizations of criticism strategies and the ways in which choice of these strategies are influenced by interlocutor status. However, the significance of the findings is to some extent mitigated by incongruities in results produced by the two data collection procedures. Implications of the findings for intercultural business encounters are discussed, and recommendations are made for future pragmatic research focusing on the area of criticism.
discourse completion task, multiple response system, business interaction, thailand, usa, interlocutor, pragmatic speech
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