The Association between Gender and Vietnamese Complaint Strategies

Thuy Ho Hoang Nguyen


This study explores how gender is associated with the performance of Vietnamese complaint strategies. Seventy-two Vietnamese native speakers (36 males and 36 females) were involved in the study, and they were assigned the role of either a complainer or a complainee to role-play in nine situations of daily-life communication. Information about gender was provided in each of the nine situations. After each role-play, the participants explained and gave comments on their complaint performance. Both the participants’ role-plays and their interpretations were audio-recorded. The collected data was then transcribed, coded, analysed and interpreted. The findings show that the inventory of eleven Vietnamese complaint strategies (Nguyen, 2016) is associated with the gender of the complainers and the complainees to varying extents. While the complainer’s gender does not closely interact with the complaint performance, the complainee’s gender shows an opposite result. Specifically, the Vietnamese are likely to make more complaints to people of the same sex than to people of the opposite sex. In addition, when complaining, both Vietnamese male and female complainers utilise more politeness strategies with female complainees than with male complainees.


Vietnamese, complaint strategies, gender, face-threatening act, politeness

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