Politeness in Emails Exchanged between English and Persian Speakers

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Payame Noor University ,Tehran

2 Payame Noor University

3 Shahid Chamran University, Ahvaz


Nowadays, intercultural communication via email among various groups and societies has been increasingly important as an aspect of communication. This research aims at investigating aspects of politeness meaning negotiation via emails exchanged between English and Persian speakers with different cultural backgrounds. The present study also reveals the potentials for using emails to experience culture as a process of meaning negotiation. To do this, 18 English and Persian speakers (aged 22-60) were asked to exchange emails for 12 weeks. After collecting the required samples, the interplay between the computer-mediated communication, speech act and politeness is explored by using the analytical frameworks of Hyme’s ethnography of communication (1974), Searle’s speech act theory (1969) and Brown and Levinson’s politeness theory (1987). The methodology of this research is descriptive analytical. The results of this research show that “politeness” is not a stable construct. Rather it is constantly (re)negotiated by the interactants who take into account the relevant contextualization cues. In addition saving the face of the sender and the receiver is concerned simultaneously in the process of email exchanging.