Directness and Appropriateness—Complaints Perceived by English Users of Different Ages in Taiwan

Chi-yin Hong


This study explores the complaint strategies preferred by different age groups of English users in Taiwan. Seventy-eight subjects participated in this study, making up three groups: the teenager (TA) group, the young adult (YA) group, and the middle-aged (MA) group. The instrument was a multiple-choice task, which consisted of twenty scenarios, with the options representing six strategies: hints, disapproval, requests for repair, explicit complaints, accusations, and silence. Each of the two contextual variables, status and social distance, was involved in the scenarios for investigation of its effects on the subjects’ strategy selection. The results reveal age-graded differences in the MA group’s lowest severity level among the three groups, whereas no obvious differences were found between the YA and TA groups. The effects of status and social distance on the YA and TA groups were similar, but the MA group exhibited different tendencies. Possible influences from age and employment status on the perceptions and strategy selection are discussed.

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Studies in Media and Communication      ISSN 2325-8071 (Print)   ISSN 2325-808X (Online)

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