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Advice speech-act in Persian as a first language and English as a second language: a study of Iranian students

posted on 16.01.2017 by Davoodifard, Mahshad
The purpose of this study was to investigate the linguistic realizations of the advice speech act in Persian as a first language and English as a second language. More specifically, the study aimed at exploring the linguistic and pragmatic strategies used by Persian speakers when offering unsolicited advice in both their first and second language. Furthermore, the research project investigated the social and cultural norms and values that can affect the formulation of advice. The study based its argument on a corpus of data elicited by means of a Persian and an English version of a Discourse Completion Test and three Focus Group Discussions. In an effort to learn more about culture-specific patterns of advice in Persian language and culture, the Persian and English data were compared to data produced by a group of native speakers of Australian English, who mainly served as a reference group. The data were analyzed focusing on six major components of the advice speech act: (1) the use of advice speech act; (2) level of directness and advice strategies; (3) supportive move strategies; (4) internal modification strategies; (5) alerters and gambits and (6) level of formality. Moreover, the major themes and trends which emerged from the Focus Group Discussions were explored and analyzed qualitatively. The results of the study showed that the Persian speaking participants preferred a direct style and adhered closely to the social and cultural norms and assumptions of their native language and culture when offering advice in both their first and second language. The analysis of the data from the Australian English speakers revealed that these participants preferred to avoid advice giving or mitigated the force of their advice by means of a wide range of strategies. The findings of this study indicate that the formulation of advice is linked to the underpinning sociocultural views of the speakers, and cross-cultural differences in the use and interpretation of advice speech act are likely to result in miscommunication and misperception when people engage in communication in English as an international language. The results of the study contribute to a better understanding of the role of the culture-specific values which dominate advice giving behavior among Persian speakers. The study also presents a discussion of the theoretical and practical implications of the findings for the teaching and learning English in its global context.


Principal supervisor

Farzad Sharifian

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Languages, Cultures and Linguistics


Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Type


Campus location



Faculty of Arts