Pragmalinguistic Study of the Speech Act of Warning in Arabic Health Proverbs

Speech Act; Warning; Arabic Health Proverbs; pragmatic behaviours; declarative and imperative sentences; cultural practice


May 1, 2022


Arabic health proverbs are often observed to pragmatically behave distinctively and are syntactically realized in various ways. They are often manipulated to give various types of functions and purposes, among which is a warning. The warning is observed to be found in these proverbs to caution people against unhealthy habits of having food or even unhealthy food. However, this speech act expresses various pragmatic behaviours and is realized in various types of syntactic structures. Thus, this paper is intended to investigate the pragmalinguistic employment of the speech act of warning in Arabic health proverbs, focusing on its functions and the various syntactic forms of expressing warning. Twelve Arabic health proverbs are chosen to be the data of this paper. A model based on Searle's (1969 and 1979) and Bach and Harnish’s (1979) treatments of speech acts is proposed to account for the pragmalinguistic behaviour of warning. The main research method used for the data analysis is qualitative-quantitative, supported by frequency and percentage of pragmalinguistic resources. The study reveals that the speech act of warning in Arabic health proverbs is articulated in the interest and cost of the hearer rather than the speaker of the proverb. A warning is indirectly expressed through the use of declarative and imperative sentences via the employment of the three types of sentences: simple, compound and complex.