|Abstract: ||The present study belongs to the research on the theory of lext, and it concentrates on the
whole structure of a liguistic message. The aim of the study is to present a description of complaint
seen as a kind of utterance endowed, in its textual realisations, with a certain semantic and
structural dominant. The author’s analysis of the gathered material led to the reconstruction of
a model of the genre.
Bakhtin’s theory that there exist primary and secondary genres of speech, and also the
available linguistic material, allowed the author to distinguish two varieties of complaint: the
primary (i.e. the spoken one) and secondary (i.e. the written one). The description of the genre
presented in the study contains two textual models of complaint: the spoken complaint, recognised
as the primary genre and the secondary variety, i.e. a written complaint to an institution.
In Chapter II, a reconstruction of the generic model of complaint has been carried out, and
the following semantic defmition was put forward: I, i.e. X, speak: I'm in a bad mood because o f Y,
recognising that complaint consists in an act of the addresser expressing his or her dissatisfaction.
The element that all the texts collected by the author share is the addressers’ elear intention to
express their dissatisfaction, or a physical or psychic discomfort, caused by an undersirable state
The collected texts bear witness to a great structural variety of the spoken complaint.
A ubiąuitous semantic element of complaint is negation, there appear also exclamatory expressions
indicating the expressive character of the addresser’s utterance. Another element discussed
here is the repetitions which show the degree of the addresser’s dissatisfaction, and which are
meant reflect the enormity of the hard done to him or her. As regards the enumerative syntactic
patterns in spoken complaints, they are meant to emphasis the great number and variety of the
factors that awake the speaker’s dissatisfaction. A complaining individual wants to make the
interlocutor to sympathise with him or her, and tries to achieve this by presenting his or her
problems in the form of a question that drews the addressee into the speaker’s way of reasoning,
and is meant to move, activate the addressee, and make him or her react in some way. The speaker
strives, at the same time, to present his or her misarabłe situation in a graphic way, so he or she
uses comparative sentence structures, often taking recourse to various stereotype comparisons well
established in a given language, but always of a negative naturę.
Chapter II contains an analysis of the adaptive structure of the spoken complaint, that is the
description of a mixture (an interfusion) of the textual model of the spoken complaint with narrative
The object of the author’s research in Chapter III is the secondary genre — the official variety
of complaint seen from a bureaucratic point of view. The first stage of the analysis consistedin pointing out the basie structure. The author’s analysis of the complaints to various institutions
made it possible to reconstruct an extended structure of that genre of speech. Chapter III
contains also a description of all elements of the textual model distinguished as a result of the
These elements contain structures composed of many constituent parts. As an example of such
structures, we may mention a well developed textual frame with the initial and finał component,
a frame that may contain, among other things, the information concerning the place, time, and
participants of the communicative act, the participants’, professional titles, polite expressions,
a reąuest for the complaint to be accepted, expressions of gratitude, confirmation of one’s respect
for the addressee, and a signature. The proper content of a complaint contains: an indication
of the person who is the object of the complaint, a verbalisation of the committed offence or
misconduct, a description of the circumstances in which that event took place, a project of the State
of affairs desired by the addresser, and a reąuest for the addressee to react in an appropriate, that
is consistent with legał regulations, way.
In Chapter III, apart from the description of the basie structure and of the maximal official
complaint, also an analysis of the adaptive structure of the genre has been carried out. The author
also indicates here the transformations in the textual model of complaint taking place under
the influence of the textual model of the formal application.|