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    Greetings and leave-takings in everyday interactions among Algerian Arabic L1 users : a variational pragmatics study

    Neddar, Mohammed El Habib (2023) Greetings and leave-takings in everyday interactions among Algerian Arabic L1 users : a variational pragmatics study. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    The present study explores the realisation of greetings and leave-takings in everyday interactions among Algerian Arabic L1 users. It looks at greetings and leave-takings as both micro and macrospeech acts. In other words, it examines the linguistic realisation of greetings and leavetakings at the utterance level as individual speech acts and sequences of actions that make up the openings and closings of the examined conversations. Adopting a variational pragmatics perspective, the current study also examines the influence of both macrosocial factors, namely gender and religion, and microsocial ones (i.e., social distance and power) as well as situational context on the use of language in the examined interactions. In addition, the dissertation looks at the role of French in the examined Algerian context and sociocultural norms that appear to govern greetings and leave-takings. Greetings and leave-takings have been examined in relation to different languages and cultures. Concerning Arabic, the studies on greetings or leave-takings that are available include, among others, Malkawi and Rababa’h (2012) on Jordanian Arabic greetings and leave-takings; Bouchara (2015) on Moroccan Arabic greetings; and Al-Haq and Rabee (2017) on the sociopragmatic functions of certain Quranic greetings. However, to the best of my knowledge, there are no available studies relating to Algerian Arabic greetings and leave-takings from a variational pragmatics perspective. The present study is, therefore, an attempt to start addressing this gap adopting a variational pragmatics standpoint (Schneider and Barron, 2008; Barron and Schneider, 2009). The present study is based on data collected in Oran (north-west Algeria) through open role plays with 56 participants (28 females and 28 males) followed by retrospective verbal reports with the same participants and semi-structured interviews with eight other participants. All the participants were university students. The open role play scenarios included four situations varied in terms of social distance and power as well as situational context (e.g., a person wishes her/his 5 neighbour a happy Eid al-Fitr; a person pays her/his very good friend, who broke her/his ankle, a visit in a hospital; a student asks her/his lecturer to borrow her/his book; a customer talks to a shop assistant to request a service). In terms of results, the open role play data showed that Situation 1 (Eid al-Fitr) openings and 2 (hospital) closings are longer since they are characterised by multiple overlappings and latchings. They are complex as they are made up by many different moves or actions. This phenomenon is explained with reference to the nature of the two situational contexts that are conducive to displays of warmth, love, sympathy and friendliness through the use of a wide range of forms. This is not the case in the openings and closings of Situation 3 (university) and 4 (pâtisserie) which are generally less elaborate as they tend to be made up of fewer moves or actions. This reflects the higher level of social distance and/or power between the participants. The open role play data also showed that gender did not appear to play a major role in the realisation of the examined conversations. One interesting finding that emerged was the frequent use of religious formulae and French in the realisation of greetings and leave-takings although the use of the latter varied according to situation. Concerning the retrospective verbal reports, they highlighted the importance of the use of religious formulae to show respect and good manners and strengthen the bonds between interactants as they constitute a way of displaying kindness, sincerity and affection. All in all, our findings corroborate results from studies on other varieties of Arabic in terms of the importance of religious formulae in everyday and other interactions (see, e.g., Bouchara, 2015; Malkawi and Rababa’h, 2012). As for the use of French, the outcome of the study revealed that Algerian Arabic L1 users appear to use it to convey that they are smart, educated, knowledgeable and belong to an upper social class. These findings also corroborate some results from previous studies (see e.g., Benguedda 2015, 2018). Finally, the semi-structured interviews provided some insights into the sociocultural norms behind the realisation of greetings and leave-takings that appear to be characteristic of Algerian Arabic conversations.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 23 Jan 2024 16:52
    Last Modified: 24 Jan 2024 14:25


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