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Semantics and pragmatics of religious formulae used by teachers in Saudi Arabian classroom talk

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posted on 2022-03-28, 00:49 authored by Omar Almalki
This project investigates the use of Arabic Religious Formulae (henceforth, RFs) in Saudi Arabic teacher-student talk. It is underpinned by Speech Act Theory, Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM) and its offshoot, Cultural Script Theory. Ethnographic methods were used to collect data and Conversation Analysis (CA) was crucial for transcribing data, shedding further light on the cultural significance of the speech acts and RFs used in teacher-student interaction. Thirty teachers from a range of disciplines were observed and audio-taped twice. A focus group discussion was conducted after the observation period in order to gather speakers’ insights about their use of religious formulae. This triangulation reveals a wide range of communication functions and pragmatic roles that RFs can play in interactions. In addition, it identifies precisely the social and cultural embeddedness of the occurrence of RFs in Arabic teacher-student talk. The findings are original in revealing the characteristics of RFs, the way they construct speech acts, and how speakers challenge the ambiguous use of RFs. The study also contributes to our understanding of the cultural value of using RFs as part of a Saudi teacher role. iv


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction -- Chapter 2. Theoretical framework -- Chapter 3. Background on Arabic Religious Formulae -- Chapter 4. Methodology -- Chapter 5. The Use of Optative Religious Formulae -- Chapter 6. The Use of Imperative and Declarative Religious Formulae -- Chapter 7. The Use of Phrasal Religious Formulae -- Chapter 8. The Use of Sarcastic Irony in Religious Formulae -- Chapter 9. Cultural Scripts of the Use of Religious Formulae -- Chapter 10. Conclusion -- References -- Appendix.


Bibliography: pages 206-219

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD



Department, Centre or School

Department of Linguistics

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Verna Rieschild


Copyright disclaimer: Copyright Omar Almalki 2012. Complete version suppressed due to copyright restrictions. However, on receipt of a Document Supply Request, placed with Macquarie University Library by another library, we will consider supplying a copy of this thesis. For more information on Macquarie University's Document Supply, please contact




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Former Identifiers

mq:33171 2166593