Arab World English Journal (April 2012)                                              Theses / Dissertations

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Name of researcher: Abdullah Y. Samarah
Title: Feedback in Arabic Spoken Communication
Major: Theoretical/General Linguistics
University name: GÖTEBORGS UNIVERSITET, Sweden
Department name: Institutionen för lingvistik ‘Department of Linguistics’
Supervisors name: Professor Jens Allwood
Co-advisor: Sören Sjöström
Year of award: June/2002


The study deals with Linguistic feedback (cf. Winer/49, and Allwood/93). The subject feedback can informally be described like this; when a speaker performs a linguistic action which requires a linguistic response from an interlocutor, the given response has an important function for the speaker. In the ideal case, the listener’s response gives information to the speaker that the listener has perceived and understood the communicated content. However, the receiver can also signal that he/she has failed to hear or understand what has been said. The receiver can also ignore the speaker’s action and initiate other actions or get involved in a different conversation. Even if a receiver/listener can hear and understand what is said he/she may will withhold his/her response. In those cases a receiver does not give a coherent response, the speaker can understand this as indicating a problem which needs to be dealt with. Alternatively, the speaker may give up the attempt to give feedback. By increasing consciousness of feedback, we may hope to better understand problems in communication between cultures. The present study focuses on verbal feedback actions and discusses shortly non-verbal/gestures feedback actions. The following aspects are central in the study:(i)Feedback expressions in spoken Arabic,(ii)The communicative functions of the expressions, and(iii)Studies of four kinds of conversations which give examples of feedback in spoken Arabic. A number of theoretical assumptions, which possibly have universal relevance, are presented. The need for further empirical research is expressed. The present work is divided into six chapters and based on conversations recorded in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia).

Keywords: Feedback Phenomenon, Contact, Linguistic Communication, Sociolinguistics, Language Perceptions, Successful and Unsuccessful Communication, Communication Circle