Gender, Socioeconomic Status, and Politeness Strategies: Focusing on Iranian High School Students’ Usage of Request Speech Act

Shirin Rahimi Kazerooni, Mohammad Reza Shams


The present study was developed in response to the need to further investigate politeness and politeness strategies in Persian context. The overarching goal was to extract and categorize the range of politeness strategies used in Iranian culture to see if they conform to the framework Brown and Levinson (1987) claim to be universal. The study also sought to investigate the potential effect that the two variables of gender and socioeconomic status may have on politeness strategies used in Iranian culture. An open-ended questionnaire was used as a modified version of the Discourse Completion Test to collect a number of requests from a sample of 120 male and female native Persian speakers. The analysis of strategy types and frequencies revealed that, in Iranian culture, speakers seem to prefer negative politeness strategies when making requests. As for the second part of the study, it was found that gender and socioeconomic status of Persian speakers have no significant effect on the type and frequency of politeness strategies used in performing requestive speech act. On the whole, the results indicated that all the politeness strategies used in making requests chime with Brown and Levinson’s politeness framework and that Brown and Levinson’s politeness theory can account for politeness strategies used in Persian.


politeness, positive politeness, negative politeness, politeness strategies

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