Politeness Accommodation in E-Mail Requests among Iranian Postgraduate Students of EFL

Muhammed Parviz


Computer-mediated communication (CMC) offers us a chance to understand how social relationships are built and maintained in an environment in which interlocutors not only lack the paralinguistic features that are vital to face-to- face conversation, but are participating in a medium which has had little time to develop rules of conduct. The present study was an attempt to determine politeness accommodation in e-mail messages among Iranian postgraduate students of EFL. One hundred EFL learners, aged 22-26, participated in this study. Four different message types were constructed and sent to the participants, i.e. messages with verbal politeness markers; messages with structural politeness elements (e. g., salutation and closing remarks); messages with both verbal and structural politeness indicators; finally messages with neither verbal nor structural politeness indicators. Further, the messages varied in their degree of politeness; however, their content was the same. Results showed that the participants accommodated significantly to verbal politeness indicators in the body of a message, and to structural politeness indicators of greeting/salutation. When such indicators were included in messages, the participants responded with significantly more polite messages (greeting and body) than when the indicators were absent. The results boost our understanding of CMC with reference to politeness markers, and how they are used by Iranian EFL learners.



Computer-mediated communication, Politeness, Negative politeness, Positive politeness, Face

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/ijalel.v.1n.7p.127


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