Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Proceedings of KUST, Iraq Conference 2022                            Pp.75-88

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Iraqi Parents Instructions to Their Teens: A Pragma-Stylistic Approach 

Wafaa Sahib Mehdi Muhammed
Department of English
College of Education for Women, University of Baghdad, Iraq
Corresponding Author

Fatima Khudhair Hasson
Department of English
College of Education for Women, University of Baghdad, Iraq

Ameera Hussein Thalab
Department of English, College of Languages, University of Baghdad, Iraq


Recived: 1/31/2022                   Accepted:  5/26/2022                   Published: 7/1/2022


Parents are supposed to be responsible for the education of their children. However, other sources of information participate in this challenging mission. Technological advancements, media, friends, and schoolmates have a significant effect on how our sons think or behave. Hence, it becomes crucial for parents to consider how to approach or deal with them. The way parents give instructions to sons concerning their daily routines of educational, moral, and health care practices is of great importance. This paper aims to find out how educated Iraqi parents give instructions to their sons. The study identifies the pragma-stylistic devices that characterize Iraqi parental instructions. It attempts to specify which speech act is most dominant in parental instructions and if politeness strategies are adhered to or not. Twenty Iraqi parents who have a degree in the English language participated in this research work. A questionnaire of ten different scenarios concerning some basic daily instructions that are often likely to be given to sons or daughters who are between the age of 12 to 16 is delivered to those parents. The responses to this questionnaire are scrutinized in terms of the pragma-stylistic perspective following Black (2006) by activating three pragmatic theories, namely; Searle’s (1969) theory of speech acts, Brown and Levinson’s (1987) theory of politeness as well as Culpeper’s (1996) theory of impoliteness. It is found that educated Iraqi parents prefer the indirect way of giving instructions to their teens concerning the daily practices regardless of the importance of these instructions in life. Analysis reveals that most Iraqi parents use the speech act of advising when giving daily instructions to their teens. Direct instructions are rare. If found, they are softened with polite expressions.
Keywords: Family discourse, Iraqi context, moral instructions, pragma-stylistics, teenagers

Cite as:  Muhammed, W. S. M., Hasson, F. K., & Thalab, A.H. (2022). Iraqi Parents’ Instructions to Their Teens: A Pragma-Stylistic Approach. Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Proceedings of  KUST, Iraq Conference 2022  (1) 75-88.


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Received: 1/31/2022
Accepted: 5/26/2022
Published: 7/1/2022

Wafaa Sahib Mehdi Muhammed (Ph.D.) teaches at the Department of English, College of Education for Women, University of Baghdad. Her major is pragmatics and critical studies. She has published more than twenty articles in local and international
academic journals. ORCID:

Fatimah Khudair Hassoon is an assistant professor of linguistics at the Department of English, College of Education for Women, University of Baghdad. Her research interests include stylistics and applied linguistics.

Ameerah Hussein Thalab (M.A.) teaches at the Department of English, College of Languages, University of Baghdad.  Her major is Phonetics, phonology, and discourse analysis.