Cultural Dimensions and Pragmatic Failure: The Case of Moroccan EFL University Students

Omar Ezzaoua


This study examines the impact of cultural values on the production of three speech acts (complaints, apologies, and refusals) by Moroccan Learners of English as a Foreign Language (EFL). The study involves three groups of participants: Moroccan EFL learners (MLE), American speakers (AE), and Moroccan Arabic speakers (MA). The objective of this cross-cultural pragmatic study is to explore and identify the extent to which pragmatic failure can be attributed to the cultural value and dimensions of the learners rather than their linguistic incompetence. Participants were given Discourse Completion Task questionnaires to elicit their reactions to various situations. The results, based on Hofstede’s cultural dimension framework (2010) and Hall’s cultural specifications (1976), showed that culture has a significant effect on the performance of the speech acts under investigation. Findings suggested that cultural specificities do effect the pragmatic choices made by the interlocutors across the three groups of informants.


Apologies; Complaints; Cultural values; Refusals; Pragmatic failure

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