Using Sitcoms to Improve the Acquisition of Speech Acts by ‎EFL Students: Focusing on Request, Refusal, Apology, and ‎Compliment Response

Amal Ali Alerwi ‎, Amal Alzahrani


Raising EFL students’ awareness on how to communicate appropriately using English language is very important. Thus, the aim of this research was to investigate the effect of using sitcoms to improve EFL students’ use of speech acts of request, refusal, apology, and compliment response. Sitcoms which mean situational comedy were used as the treatment in this research. Sitcoms sessions were held for three weeks, one-hour session a week. In each session, the students were exposed to targeted speech acts through the use of English sitcoms (The Big Bang Theory, Friends, and Seinfeld). The participants of this research were 18 Saudi female freshmen students. Their ages were between 19 to 25, majoring in Applied linguistic at Yanbu University College. This research was quantitative research where the data was collected using a written discourse completion test as pre-post-test and a close-ended questionnaire. The result of this research showed that the participants’ use of speech acts improved after the treatment. This result suggests that using sitcoms might help in EFL’s acquisition of speech act of request, refusal, apology, and compliment response.


Pragmatic competence; speech act; politeness theory

Full Text:



Al-Eryani, A. (2007). Refusal strategies by Yemeni EFL learners. Asian EFL Journal, 9(2), 1738-1460.

Al-Gamal, A. (2017). The speech act of compliment response as realized by Yemeni Arabic speakers. Language in India, 17(6).

Austin, J. (1962). How to do things with words. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Bachman, L. (1990). Fundamental considerations in language testing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Birjandi, P., & Derakhshan, A. (2013). Pragmatic comprehension of apology, request, and refusal: An investigation on the effect of consciousness-raising video-driven prompts. Applied Research on English Language, 3(1), 67-85.

Derakhshan, A., & Arabmofrad, A. (2018). The impact of instruction on the pragmatic comprehension of speech acts of apology, request, and refusal among Iranian intermediate EFL learners. English Teaching & Learning, 42(1), 1-20.

Gaily, M. (2014). Teaching English speech acts in Sudanese EFL context: A focus on apology, request, refusal and complaint forms. New York Science Journal, 7(11), 58-69.

Hashemian, M., Domakani, M., Ansari, M. (2016). The effect of movies on L2 learners' pragmatic competence: A case of request and apology. International Journal of Educational Investigations,3(1), 2410-3446.

Hosseini, F. (2016). The effect of role play on pragmatic competence among male and female Iranian EFL learners. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Language Research, 3(5), 203- 213.

Kasper, G. (1990). “Linguistic politeness: Current research issues”. Journal of Pragmatics 14(2), 193-218.

Kwon, J. (2004). Expressing refusals in Korean and in American English. Multilingua-Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communication, 23(4), 339-364.

Muhammed, B. (2012). A linguistic study of refusal strategies used by advanced Iraqi learners of English. The Arab Gulf, 40(3-4), 40-67.

Searle, J. (1969). Speech acts: An essay in the philosophy of language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thomas, J. (1983). Cross-cultural pragmatic failure. Applied Linguistics, 4(2), 91-112.

Thomas, J. (1995). Meaning in interaction: An introduction to pragmatics. London: Longman.

Válková, S. (2013). Speech acts or speech act sets: Apologies and compliments. Linguistica Pragensia, 2(23), 44-57.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Applied Linguistics and Language Research