Speech Act of Condolence in Persian and English: A Cross-Cultural Study

Bahareh Lotfollahi, Abbass Eslami-Rasekh


Different speech acts such as apologies, refusals, compliments, complaints and invitations have been studied and differences between English and Persian have been shown. However, the speech act of condolence has been neglected and there is little written on the way Persian speakers express their condolences. Therefore, the first objective of the present study is to make a cross-cultural comparison in the realization patterns of the condolence speech act between English and Persian. The second aim is to investigate the effect of social distance on condoling strategies in different situations. A discourse completion test consisting of four situations was given to eighty Iranian EFL students of the University of Isfahan. The collected data was coded based on Elwood’s semantic formula (2004) with some modifications. The analysis of data revealed that offering of condolence by Iranians who are members of a Moslem community is carried out through strategies which are unique to this religious culture and is considerably different from what was found in the English data. Also, social distance has significant effect on the frequency of the speech act in different situations.

Key words: Speech act; Condolence; Cross-cultural; Persian


Speech act; Condolence; Cross-cultural; Persian

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/n


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