A Comparative Study of Ostensible Invitations in English and Persian
The present study was carried out with the purpose of describing the defining features of Persian genuine and ostensible invitations in terms of pragmatics. The data were collected based on the spontaneous Persian invitations. 120 EFL (English as a Foreign Language) graduate and undergraduate students participated in this study. Then, the results were compared with genuine and ostensible invitations in English. The framework of data collection and analysis was the work of Isaacs and Clark (1990). Our results indicated that Persian ostensible invitations in some cases were more complex than the English ones. The features presented for ostensible invitations in English were not sufficient to distinguish the ostensible invitations from the genuine invitations in Persian. In some cases, invitations meeting the criteria for being genuine in English can be classified as ostensible by Persian speakers. Persian speakers use a considerable number of ostensible invitations in their daily activities as a manifestation of ritual politeness (ta'arof). A chi-square was carried out to analyze the data and determine whether Persian native speakers benefit from the same strategies in their extending invitations as their English counterparts do. The results of the data analysis revealed that the ways of extending invitations in Persian are similar to those of English. But the difference was only a matter of degree. On the other hand, the relationship between ostensible and genuine invitations in Persian and English regarding seven strategies defined by Isaacs and Clark (1990) was not significant. This is to say that in some strategies there were meaningful relationships between two types of invitations but in some strategies there were no such relationships.
Key words: Ostensible invitation; English; Persian; Pragmatics
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