A Pragmatic Study of the Speech Act of Threatening between Jordanian and American Speakers


This paper investigates the speech act of making threats among native speakers of Jordanian Arabic (JA) and American English (AE). It explores new threat strategies used by Jordanian and American speakers and their pragmatic functions to construct an analytical framework for analyzing this act across cultures. The data for this study were collected using an open-ended questionnaire. This questionnaire consists of ten imaginary situations drawn from real life. The data were analyzed using chi-square tests (value <0.05) to determine whether the difference between the two groups for each threat strategy was statistically significant. The subjects of Jordanian Arabic included 40 male participants and 40 female participants from three universities in Irbid district while the American subjects included 15 male participants and 15 female participants from the University of Illinois in the United States. Five threat strategies were identified. Four of which were shared between the two groups: Telling Authority, Committing Harm, Introducing Options and Warning. However, Promise of Vague Consequence was confined to JA speakers. The study also found that JA speakers tended to be less direct than their AE counterparts.


Othman Al-Shboul


American English, DCT, Jordanian Arabic, speech acts, threat strategies


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