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Title:A cross-cultural comparison of the requestive speech act realization patterns in Persian and American English
Author(s):Eslamirasekh, Zohreh
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Maclay, Howard S.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Bilingual and Multicultural
Language, Modern
Abstract:The purpose of this study was to: (a) expand the scope of cross-cultural speech act studies to include a non-western language, (b) to examine similarities and differences in the realization patterns of the speech act of requesting between Persian speakers and American speakers of English, (c) to examine effects related to sex of the speaker on the realization patterns of the requesting speech act, and (d) to examine effects related to social variables of distance and dominance on the realization patterns of requesting speech act in the two cultures.
The subjects of this study were 52 native American English speaking undergraduate students studying at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and 50 native Persian speaking undergraduate students studying at University of Isfahan, in Isfahan, Iran.
The data were collected by a controlled elicitation procedure called "open questionnaire". The data were then categorized based on the coding system developed by the Cross-Cultural Speech Act Realization Project (Blum-Kulka, House, & Kasper, 1989). In order to analyze the directness level of requests a t-test was performed with the mean level of directness as dependent variable and nationality or sex as a grouping variable. A chi-square analysis was performed where frequencies of different components of requestive speech act (parts other than the head act), were compared based on grouping variables of nationality or sex.
Our analysis revealed that Persian speakers are significantly more direct when making requests compared to American speakers. The results also showed that Persian speakers used considerably more alerters, supportive moves, and internal modifiers compared to American speakers. Sex was found not to have a strong predictive value in either of the languages studied. For both languages the effect of the social variables of distance and dominance were similar, i.e., directness tended to increase with increases in either social distance or power. In general, speakers tended to be more indirect when making requests of persons they did not know or those with greater power or status.
The study has theoretical and pedagogical implications and suggests a need to broaden the scope of speech act studies to include non-European languages.
Issue Date:1992
Rights Information:Copyright 1992 Eslamirasekh, Zohreh
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9305519
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9305519

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