Emotionality and Formality in Postgraduate ELT Students’ Use of Diction in Farsi and English Writing

Document Type : Research Paper


Department of English Language, Tabriz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tabriz, Iran


Diction conveys a wide array of meanings of which formality and emotionality are only two facets. Researchers have investigated various features of written discourse to capture discourse variation in L1 and L2 writings. Likewise, the present ex-post-facto study compared the formality and emotionality of diction in general and emotional English and Farsi texts produced by 20 MA students at Islamic Azad University, Tabriz Branch. Having verified the initial homogeneity of the participants, we required them to write four paragraphs, two in English and two in Farsi, on a general and an emotional topic. The formality of the words in English texts was determined based on Webster’s Dictionary. Further, the positive and negative emotion words used in English and Farsi texts were measured based on the definitions offered by Pennebaker and King (1999).The results of the statistical analyses revealed no significant difference in the formality of the words used by the participants in general and emotional English texts. The comparison of the research data, however, indicated significant differences in the use of emotion words in general and emotional English and Farsi texts. The findings underscore the need for raising learners’ awareness of the role diction can play in writing. 


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