Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 12. Number3   September 2021                                           Pp. 257-277

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A Pragma- Stylistic Analysis of Formal Congratulatory Letters in English and Arabic 

Muna Y. Al-Janabi
Department of English, College of Languages
University of Baghdad, Baghdad, Iraq
Corresponding Author:

 Ibtihal M. Al-Tememi
Department of English, College of Languages
University of Baghdad, Baghdad, Iraq


Received: 5/6/2021                 Accepted: 8/9/2021                 Published:  9/24/2021


Politeness strategies are of significant importance to maintain the face of the addressee. Senders of formal congratulatory letters seek to create a positive image in the minds of their addresses by performing particular illocutionary acts and face-saving acts (FSAs) in the form of written texts. To the best knowledge of the researcher, this topic received little attention from linguistic researchers, especially on the pragma-stylistic level. The importance of this study arises from the fact that congratulatory formal letters are an effective tool in the successful performance of foreign relations and thus deserve investigation. The current study investigates the pragma-stylistic aspects of illocutionary acts and FSA Politeness Strategies in some selected English and Arabic formal congratulatory letters written by English and Arabic officials. Findings reveal that assertive constitutes the highest frequency in English data, while expressive occurs more in Arabic. Besides, the FSA politeness strategy (Use appropriate forms of address) includes most of the total frequency in both English and Arabic data, which still it appeared more in English. Additionally, (Exaggerate interest, sympathy with H) comes next in Arabic, while (Be optimistic) appeared more in English. In addition, results show that exaggeration (Hyperbole) is the prevalent stylistic device used in Arabic. Arabic officials usually exaggerate the glorification of people in authoritative positions, while English high officials tend to be more moderate. The findings will be helpful in cross-cultural comparative studies and other related fields.
Keywords: congratulations, formal letters, illocutionary acts, politeness strategies, stylistic analysis

Cite as:   Al-Janabi, M.Y., & Al-Tememi, I. M. (2021). A Pragma- Stylistic Analysis of Formal Congratulatory Letters in English and Arabic.
Arab World English Journal, 12 (3) 257-277.


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Received: 5/6/2021
Accepted: 8/9/2021
Published: 9/24/2021 

Muna Y. Al-Janabi received her B.A. degree in English Language from the University of Baghdad/College of Languages/ Department of English  in 1999. She is currently an MA student at the same university and college. Her research interests include Pragma-Stylistics, General Linguistics.

Ibtihal M. Al-Tameemi, PhD in Linguistics and Translation and is an Assistant Professor at the department of English /College of Languages /University of Baghdad. She is a member of Iraqi Translators Association (ITA) since 1992 and APETAU. Her scopes of interest include Translation and interpreting, literary translation, applied linguistics and ELT.