A Contrastive Analysis of Persian and English Compliment, Request, and Invitation Patterns within the Semantic Metalanguage Framework

Document Type: Original Article


1 Assistant Professor, Imam Khomeini International University, Qazvin, Iran

2 PhD Candidate, Imam Khomeini International University, Qazvin, Iran


Speech acts shape the core of pragmatic competence and their mastery is a prerequisite for successful dis- course encounters in an L2. Cross-cultural comparisons, as claimed by Johnstone (2018), are very effec- tive for knowing and acquiring the speech acts. Accordingly, the purpose of this study was to compare a limited number of communicative routines in English and Persian within the framework of the Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM) developed by Wierzbicka (1991) and to examine if the words uttered by speakers at the surface level (exterior) would match their thoughts (interior) especially in such routines as compliment, request, and invitation patterns. The participants comprised 21 MA students studying Eng- lish language teaching. The data was obtained by a validated researcher-made questionnaire containing both structured and unstructured items and 10 scenarios on the basis of which the study participants pro- vided comments, appropriate expressions, and responses. For the English routines, the data was obtained from three English plays. The aforementioned communicative routines in Persian were described in terms of their NSM while the metalinguistic components for the English routines were adopted from Wierz- bicka (1991). The results indicated that the NSM provided rich insights into subliminal cross-cultural dif- ferences. Since this study makes use of simple cultural scripts (similar to circumlocution) to describe communicative routines in both English and Persian, learners can easily understand differences within the hidden cross-cultural bound interactions. Implications of the study suggest that both EFL teachers and learners can gain more profound insights about the cross-cultural sociopragmatic differences between English and Persian.


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Volume 9, Issue 4
Autumn 2019
Pages 17-34