eesti teaduste
akadeemia kirjastus
The Yearbook of the Estonian Mother Tongue Society cover
The Yearbook of the Estonian Mother Tongue Society
Vestluskaaslase reaktsioonid kurtmisele kooliteemalistes argivestlustes; pp. 231–254
PDF | 10.3176/esa65.10

Andriela Rääbis, Tiit Hennoste, Kirsi Laanesoo, Andra Rumm

Responses to school-related complaints in Estonian everyday conversations

The article targets complaint sequences in Estonian everyday conversations with a focus on responses to complaints. A complaint is a social action by which speakers express dissatisfaction with a certain state of affairs. The aim of complaining is to show that the matter is worth complaining about and to get affiliation from the recipient. For this research 40 school-related complaint sequences were studied. The purpose of this research was to find out how recipients respond to complaints and how different responses affect the course of the complaining.
The preferred response to complaining is displaying affiliation with the complainant. This is accomplished either by recipients displaying the same emotion towards the complainable matter, talking about a similar experience, developing the complaint further or agreeing neutrally. This kind of responses are followed by continuation of complaining. Responses that do not convey any stance towards the complaint, such as the continuer mhmh, show that the recipient is listening and are also followed by continuation of complaining. Another type of response that gives the complainant an opportunity to continue the complaint is recipients asking follow-up questions. Additionally, there occurred three types of non-preferred responses in our data: accounting for the complainable matter, giving advice to complainants and dismissing the complaint. In the case of non-preferred responses, complainants reject the advice, do not accept the account for the complainable matter nor the dismissal of the complaint. Our analysis shows that complaining is continued after accounts and often after dismissals of the complaint. In our data, the complaint sequence gets closed after the recipient’s advice-giving and sometimes after dismissals of the complaint.


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