Impoliteness in the Realization of Complaint Speech Acts: A Comparative Study of Iranian EFL Learners and Native English Speakers

  •  Atefeh Nikoobin    
  •  Mohsen Shahrokhi    


This study was conducted to investigate the impolite complaint strategies that are used by Iranian EFL learners and native speakers in relation to social distance. This study also aimed at determining if there were significant differences among the strategies used by each group and if there was a significant difference between Iranian native speakers of English. To this end, 40 Iranian EFL learners and 20 Americans who were native speakers of English participated in this study. To make sure about the homogeneity of Iranian participants the Oxford Placement Test (OPT) was conducted. A questionnaire containing 12 different situations was designed by the researchers and was given to the participants to express their complaints for each situation. The results revealed that there were significant differences among the strategies used by each group; the most common strategy that was used by both groups of participants was positive impoliteness and the least common one was bald-on-record. Although the most and least common strategies used by both groups were the same, Iranians had a stronger tendency for using sarcasm in low social distance situations while natives had a stronger tendency for using bald-on-record in high social distance contexts. This study has implications for EFL curriculum designing in Iran and can make Iranian EFL instructors familiar with the importance of impoliteness as an indispensable part of language.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1923-869X
  • ISSN(Online): 1923-8703
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: bimonthly

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