Complaining and Commiserating

A Speech Act View of Solidarity in Spoken American English

by Maria Stoffers (Author)
Others 224 Pages
Series: History and Language, Volume 2


This book provides an in-depth ethnographic analysis of the social functions of indirect complaints (ICs) and commiserative responses as they are used among speakers of American English and one group of Japanese learners of American English. The speech acts of complaining and commiserating are analysed as a function of the sociolinguistic variables of gender, social distance and relative social status.
Indirect complaints were found to be ubiquitous in the ordinary conversation of the native speakers studied. The vast majority of IC exchanges were found to establish solidarity between interlocutors based on a shared view.


ISBN (Hardcover)
New York, Bern, Berlin, Frankfurt/M., Paris, Wien, 1993. 224 pp.

Biographical notes

Maria Stoffers (Author)

The Author: Diana Boxer received her Ph.D. in educational linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1991. She is an assistant professor of linguistics and academic coordinator of the English Language Institute at the University of Florida. Dr. Boxer has thought foreign languages and English as a second and foreign language both in the U.S. and abroad.


Title: Complaining and Commiserating