Cross-cultural Study of Iranian and English Students’ Impoliteness and Threat Responses

Document Type: Research Paper


1 Department of English Language and Literature Payame Noor University, Iran

2 Department of English, Khorasgan (Esfahan)Branch, Islamic Azad university, Khorasgan, Iran



The purpose of the present study is to compare the impoliteness strategies employed by Iranian and English students in English and Persian Languages. The participants consisted of 6o Iranian EFL learners at intermediate level of language proficiency, 60 Iranian non-English major students, and 212 native English-speaking students. The data were collected through an open-ended questionnaire in the form of discourse completion task where responses to different threatening situations were elicited. The questionnaire consisted of six situations with variations in social power. The data were analyzed based on Limberg’s (2009) model of threat responses. The findings showed variations in the use of strategies employed with variation of social power in different situations. Moreover, the overall findings displayed the frequent use of tendency strategies, that is, toward compliance, toward non-compliance, by the three groups of respondents. It is hoped that the findings of this study can add to the body of knowledge in impoliteness studies and to our understanding of how threat responses vary cross-culturally in particular.