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A sociopragmatic study of the congratulation strategies of Saudi Facebook users

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The aim in this sociopragmatic study was to identify the linguistic and nonlinguistic types of responses used by Saudi Facebook users in the comments of congratulations on the events of

The aim in this sociopragmatic study was to identify the linguistic and nonlinguistic types of responses used by Saudi Facebook users in the comments of congratulations on the events of happy news status updates on Facebook. People usually express their feelings and emotions positively to others when they have happy occasions. However, the ways of expressing congratulation may vary because the expressive speech act “congratulations” is not the only way to express happiness and share others their happy news, especially on the new social media such as Facebook. The ways of expressing congratulation have been investigated widely in face-to-face communication in many languages. However, this has not yet been studied on Facebook, which lacks prosodic strategies and facial expressions that help to convey feelings, despite a few contributions on studying various expressive speech acts such as compliment, condolences, and wishing, among others. Therefore, a total of 1,721 comments of congratulation were collected from 61 different occasions and analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively by using the frame-based approach to understand the construction of politeness of congratulation on Facebook. The results showed 23 verbal types of responses used by the users; however, the use of “congratulations,” “offer of good wishes,” “praise,” and “statements indicating the situation was warranted” were the most frequently used strategies. The results also showed 100 patterns of verbal compound strategies, but the use of “congratulations” with “offer of good wishes” was the most frequently used compound strategy. In addition, 42 types of emojis were found in the comments and categorized into seven different functions. However, the function of expressing endearment was the most frequently used one. Finally, the results showed that the posts received 31 sharings and 3 types of emoji reactions, such as “like” (Thumbs up), “love” (Beating heart), and “wow” (Surprised face), but the use of “like” was the most frequent emoji reaction to the posts. The explored different ways of expressing congratulation and sharing with others their happy news indicated that the linguistic strategies are not the only way to express happiness on Facebook. Therefore, users employed nonlinguistic strategies to express happiness and intensify their congratulations.

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  • 2017