A Comparative Study of Perception of (Im)Politeness between Iranian EFL Learners and Americans: The Case of Request Speech Act

Bahareh Ghasempour, Maryam Farnia


Learning a language means learning the culture. What we act and speak reflect the culture of ourlanguage. Requests have attracted the attention of many researchers which they have often beeninvestigated adjacent to the politeness (Liu, 2007; Jalilifar, 2009; Al-Marrani & Sazalie, 2010; Félix-Brasdefer, 2010; Youssef, 2012; Mohammadi & Tamimi Sa’d, 2014). The purpose of this study is toexamine Iranian EFL learners, Persian native speakers, and American English native speakers’ perceptionof speech act of requests without politeness markers. To this end, the data were collected from35 EFL learners, 35 Persian native speakers, and 14 English native speakers. The data were collectedthrough an open ended questionnaire in the form of Discourse Completion Task and a Perceptionquestionnaire in the form of Likert scale adopted from Saidi and Khosravi (2015). The questionnaireconsists of situations with variations in contextual variables, i.e. social status: requests made by peopleof higher social status, equal social status and lower social status relative to the speakers. Theparticipants were asked to imagine themselves in the situations and rate the (im)politeness of each requestsituation on a 4-point Likert scale. Moreover, they were required to write down what they would say if they were in a situation without politeness markers. A translated version of questionnaire washanded to Persian native speakers. Results indicated that there was a significant difference betweenEFL learners and English native participants, and also between EFL learners and Persian speakers’perceptions of (im)politeness of different request situations. Moreover, by comparing the three groupsof participants who perceived a request as mostly/ slightly impolite, the writer provided informationabout their expectations of politeness in different situations. It is hoped that the findings of this studycan add to the body of knowledge in speech act studies in general and to our understanding of IranianEFL learners and Persian native speakers’ perception of (im)politeness in particular.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5755/j01.sal.0.29.14168


Request; (Im)Politeness; Politeness markers; EFL learners; Persian native learners

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Print ISSN: 1648-2824
Online ISSN: 2029-7203