What is a face-threatening act (FTA), and how can I avoid FTAs if I need to complain in Spanish?
This tutorial will help you to master the speech act of complaining in Spanish in both public and private settings.  Complaining is perhaps one of the most difficult speech acts to master because there is high risk of offending the hearer of the complaint.  Language learners will often avoid complaining altogether because they don’t want to offend members of the target language culture.  However, to avoid being taken advantage of, sometimes it is necessary to complain.

All complaints are potentially face-threatening acts.  The notion of losing face refers to being embarrassed or humiliated, and it closely relates to the culturally accepted norms of linguistic politeness.  Speakers often try to save their own ‘face’, but it is considered polite to also protect the ‘face’ of the hearer.  This tutorial will help you will learn various strategies to complain in Spanish with the intention of saving your own and your hearer’s ‘face’!

At the end of each lesson you will be able to:
1.  Notice the strategies that you use to complain in English.
2.  Recognize how you transfer your pragmatic knowledge of English into Spanish, either appropriately or inappropriately.
3.  Identify the strategies that native-speakers of Spanish use to complain in both public and private settings.
4.  Understand the various social factors and language strategies that are important when complaining in Spanish.


Your roommate is playing music while you are studying for a big test.  This has already happened 3 times this week.

You order breakfast from the room service menu in your hotel room.  They promise it in 15 min., but you have already been waiting for 45 min.  Your tour bus is leaving in 15 min.