Gender Differences in Complaint Strategies among Iranian Upper Intermediate EFL Students

Leila Nasiri Kakolaki, Mohsen Shahrokhi


The goal of this research was to know the differences between the strategies used by male and female upper intermediate EFL learners in complaining. Various studies suggest that the way men and women speak is different. Women are considered to be more polite than men. The present study investigated the differences of complaining realizations between Iranian EFL men and women students. A number of 60 (30 males and 30 females) upper intermediate students were selected based on their performance on a general proficiency test administered by the institute’s authorities to participate in the study. Data were collected through an open-ended questionnaire in the form of a Discourse Completion Task (DCT). The responses were analyzed based on Rinnert and Nogami’s (2006) taxonomy. The study revealed that there was a difference between men and women in realizing the complaining speech act. Men used very direct complaint more frequently compared to women who used indirect complaints the most. The present study found gender has an influence on the choice of complaining strategies and politeness.

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