Document Type : Research Paper


ph.d candidate in TEFL , university of tabriz


Condolence is part of Austin’s expressive speech act and is related to Searle’s behabitives illocutionary act. Although a theoretically sound issue in pragmatics, condolence speech act has not been investigated as much as other speech acts in discourse-related studies. This paper aims at investigating interjections and intensifiers while performing condolence speech act among Persian and English speakers. Movie analysis was utilized to gather information about how native speakers used interjections and intensifiers while performing condolence speech act. Of particular interest was the use of repetition, multiple intensifiers, implicit intensifiers, expressing explicit concern for the bereaved, and using adjectival intensifiers. The results of the Chi-square revealed that: a) there was a significant difference among intensifiers and interjections in each culture; b) interjections and intensifiers can be organized semantically; and (c) the nature of English and Persian intensifiers is syntactically different. To link theory into practice, pedagogical implications are discussed in the context of EFL.


Austin, J. L. (1962). How to do things with words. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.
Beebe, L. M., Takahashi, T., & Uliss-Weltz, R. (1990). Pragmatic transfer in ESL refusals. In R. C. Scarcella, E. S. Anderso & S. D. Krashen (Eds.), Developing communicative competence in a second language (pp. 55-94). New York: Newbury House Publishers.
Bardovi-Harlig, K. (1996). Pragmatics and language teaching: Bringing pragmatics and pedagogy together. In L. Bouton & Y. Kachru (Eds.), Pragmatics and language learning: Monograph 3 (pp. 21-39). Urbana-Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Division of English as an International Language.
Bardovi-Harlig, K. (1999). Exploring the interlanguage of interlanguage pragmatics: A research agenda for acquisitional pragmatics. Language Learning, 49(4), 677-713.
Bardovi-Harlig, K., & Dörnyei, Z. (1998). Do language learners recognize pragmatic violations? Pragmatic versus grammatical awareness in instructed L2 learning. TESOL Quarterly, 32(2), 233-262.
Blum-Kulka, S. (1982). Learning how to say what you mean in a second language: A study of speech act performance of learners of Hebrew as a second language. Applied Linguistics, 3, 29-59.
Blum-Kulka, S., & Olshtain, E. (1986). Too many words: Length of utterances and pragmatic failure. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 8(2), 165-179.
Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Delen, B., & Tavil, Z. M. (2010). Evaluation of four course books in terms of three speech acts: Requests, refusals and complaints. Social and Behavioral Sciences, 9, 692-697.
Ellis, J. (1966). Towards a general comparative linguistics. Mouton: The Hague.
Ellis, R. (2008). The study of second language acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
124 Journal of English Language Teaching and Learning.No.10 /Autumn&Winter 2012
Faerch, C., & Kasper, G. (1989). Internal and external modification in interlanguage request realization. In S. Blum-Kulka, J. House, & G. Kasper (Eds.), Cross-cultural pragmatics (pp. 221-247). Norwood, N. J.: Ablex.
Green, G. (1975). How to get people to do things with words: Syntax and semantics. In P. Cole & J. Morgan (Eds.), Speech Acts, Vol. 3. New York: Academic Press.
House, J., & Kasper, G. (1987). Interlanguage pragmatics: Requesting in foreign language. In W. Loerscher & R. Schulze (Eds.), Perspectives on language in performance: Festschrift for Werner Huellen (pp. 1250-1288). Tuebingen: Narr.
Jovanović, V. Ž. (2004). The form, position and meaning of interjections in English. Linguistics and Literature,3(1), 17-28.
Kaplan, R. B. (1972). Cultural thought patterns in inter-cultural education. In H. B. Allen & R. N. Campbell (Eds.), Teaching English as a second language (2nd ed.) (pp. 294-309). New York: McGraw Hill.
Kasper, G. (1989). Variation in interlanguage speech act realization. In S. Gass, C. Madden, D. Preston, & L. Selinker (Eds.), Variation in second language acquisition: Discourse and pragmatics (pp. 37-58). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
Kasper, G., & Rose, K. (1999). Pragmatics and SLA. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 19, 81-104.
Kasper, G., & Rose, K. (2001). Pragmatics in language teaching. In K. Rose & G. Kasper (Eds.), Pragmatics in language teaching (pp.1-9). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Levinson, S. (1983). Principles of pragmatics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Martínez-Flor, A., & Fukuya, Y. J. (2005). The effects of instruction on learners’ production of appropriate and accurate suggestions. Pragmatics in Instructed Language Learning, 33(3), 463-480.
Meng, K., & Schrabback, S. (1999). Interjections in adult-child discourse: The cases of German HA and Na. Journal of Pragmatics, 13, 1263-1287.
Olshtain, E., & Weinbach, L. (1987). Complaints: A study of speech act behavior among native and non-native speakers of Hebrew.
Discourse Structures of Condolence Speech Act Mostafa Morady … 125
In J. Verschueren & M. Bertucelli-Papi (Eds.), The pragmatic perspective (pp. 195-208). Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Parkes, C. M., Laungani, P., & Young, B. (Eds.) (1997). Death and bereavement across cultures. New York: Routledge.
Quirk, R., Greenbaum, S., Leech, G., & Svartvik, J. (1972). A grammar of contemporary English. London: Longman.
Searle, J. R. (1969). Speech acts. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Searle, J. R. (1975). Indirect speech acts. In P. Cole & J. L. Morgan (Eds.), Syntax and semantics Vol. 3. Speech acts (pp. 59-82). New York, San Francisco, London: Academic Press.
Searle, J. R. (1979). Expression and meaning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Verschueren, J. (1999). Understanding pragmatics. London: Arnold.
Wilkins, D. P. (1992). Interjections as deictics. Journal of Pragmatics, 18, 119-158.
Wierzbicka, A. (1985). Different cultures, different languages and different speech acts. Pragmatics, 9, 145–178.
Wierzbicka, A. (1992). The semantics of interjection. Journal of Pragmatics, 18, 159-192.
Williams, M., & Burden, R. L. (1997). Psychology for language teachers: A social constructivist approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Zellermayer, M. (1991). Intensifiers in Hebrew and in English. Journal of Pragmatics, 15, 43-58.
Zunin, L. M., & Zunin, H. S. (2007). The art of condolence. Canada: Harper Collins Publishers.