Arab World English Journal
AWEJ Volume.3 Number.3, 2012                                                                          pp. 106 – 122

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The Appropriateness in Advice-Giving From a Cross-Cultural Perspective

Yasser Al-Shboul
School of Language Studies and Linguistics
Universiti Kebangsaan
Malaysia

Marlyna Maros
School of Language Studies and Linguistics,
Universiti Kebangsaan
Malaysia

Mohamad Subakir Mohd Yasin
School of Language Studies and Linguistics,
Universiti Kebangsaan
Malaysia

Abstract

This cross-cultural study investigates the differences in the perceptions of the appropriateness in advice giving in English between American English native speakers (AEL1) and Jordanian learners of English as a foreign language (JEFL). Data were collected using an adopted version of a Multiple Choice Questionnaire (MCQ) by Hinkel (1997). The questionnaire consists of eight situations that required advice giving or opting out to a peer acquaintance (equal status) and an instructor (higher status). Each situation was accompanied by three MC selections in random order: direct advice, hedge advice, and indirect comments. The fourth selection was an explicit choice for opting out that remained constant for all selections. Results revealed that both groups have the same perception of the social distance in the situations involving peer acquaintance and instructor. They, however, differed in the types of advice they showed as the appropriate choice. JEFL participants considered direct advice or hedge advice as appropriate option to be used with peer acquaintance and with instructors where in American culture the AEL1 participants found these strategies as least likely appropriate. The paper suggests EFL programs that promote awareness for JEFL on various appropriate conversational strategies in English. The results are expected to be useful information in cross-cultural comparison studies and other related areas.

Keywords: Speech act, Giving-Advice, Individualism and Collectivism.

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Yasser Al-Shboul is a doctoral candidate at the School of Language Studies and Linguistics,
Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. He obtained his
Master’s degree in Applied Linguistics from Universiti Utara Malaysia and a bachelor degree in
English Language and Literature from Al-Albayt University, Jordan.
Marlyna Maros is an Associate Professor at the School of Language Studies and Linguistics,
Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Malaysia. She
teaches various subjects in Linguistics, but focused her research on topics related to
Sociolinguistics, Sociopragmatics, and Linguistics in Education. She is also the Director for the
International Student Center, UKM.
Mohamad Subakir Mohd Yasin, PhD has a research interest in the issues of language and
identity. He has published extensively in 2010-2012 on this subject especially the ones related to
gender and stereotyping. His teaching interest is in formal linguistics especially in syntactic
theories.