Volume 29, Issue 4
  • ISSN 1018-2101
  • E-ISSN: 2406-4238



The current study examined the realization of the speech act of criticizing by university teachers in their talk with students. To this end, role-plays were conducted with 60 university teachers (30 males and 30 females) at a private Saudi university which is characterized by its multicultural academic staff, and, hence, where English is used as a lingua franca. Recordings were transcribed and analyzed using an adapted version of Nguyen’s (20052013) model of criticism strategies. The results showed the teachers’ preference for indirect over direct criticism strategies and their minimal use of modifiers, particularly internal ones. It was also found that the influence of the teacher’s gender or years of teaching experience was small while the severity of the situation was a critical factor in the choice of appropriate strategies. The results were interpreted in relation to the existing literature and the theoretical model of politeness.


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