Models of discourse in the letter of complaint
Article first published online: 10 NOV 2004
Volume 23, Issue 4, pages 585–600, November 2004
How to Cite
Hartford, B. and Mahboob, A. (2004), Models of discourse in the letter of complaint. World Englishes, 23: 585–600. doi: 10.1111/j.0083-2919.2004.00378.x
- Issue published online: 10 NOV 2004
- Article first published online: 10 NOV 2004
Abstract: In both the Outer Circle and the Expanding Circle countries, books which provide examples of letters written in English and guidelines for writing these letters are available for students, business people, and any others who have an interest or need for writing such letters. These model letters are not only for business correspondence, but also cover different topics such as invitations, sympathy, and congratulations to friends. One common model is the letter of complaint, for business settings, between individuals, and in particular the Letter to the Editor. Letters to Editors are one of the richest natural data sources for the speech act of Complaint, and we examine these models for their discourse structure, the types of semantic formulas used, and reference choices for the complainant, the object of complaint, the parties affected by the object of complaint, and the party responsible for the object of complaint. We then compare these models to actual letters to editors in English language newspapers published in Pakistan and Nepal. We find that the actual letters match the models quite closely, and conclude that such resources should play a larger part in the investigation of language usage in world Englishes studies.