The Pragmatic Functions of the Expression ‘Insha’a Allah’ in the Speech Acts of Non-native, Non-Muslim Arabic Speakers


  • Asma M. AL-Hawi University of Central Lancashire


‘insha’a Allah’, intercultural pragmatics, speech act, illocutionary, perlocutionary


There is a large volume of published studies on the pragmatic functions of the Arabic expression ‘insha’a Allah’, which has a literal translation of (“God willing”). However, these studies investigated this issue from the perspective of Arab or Muslim participants only. Thus far, no attempt has been made to understand how the expression is used by non-native, non-Muslim speakers of Arabic as a second language. Based on the speech-act theory, this paper reports on a pilot study which investigates the different intercultural pragmatic functions of the expression ‘insha’a Allah’ in the speech acts of seven non-Arab, non-Muslim participants who speak Arabic as a second language, and who have been aware of the expression ‘insha’a Allah’ for at least four years. Accordingly, this qualitative study is unique because it is the first that aims to (1) contribute to the fields of intercultural communication and pragmatics; and (2) shed light on misunderstandings of the expression ‘insha’a Allah’ before and after individuals become familiar with it. To obtain data, the researcher constructed a questionnaire to generate factual and attitudinal information (Dörnyei, 2003). The questionnaire consisted of twelve open-ended questions to provide the participants with the opportunity to answer freely (Creswell, 2014). The results revealed that the intercultural pragmatic functions of the expression ‘insha’a Allah’ as recognised by the participants serve six illocutionary and two perlocutionary functions. Also, the results showed that the participants’ motivations for using it reflect their deep understanding of the importance of integrating with Arabs in order to communicate successfully.